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Edging Crusaders closer to title hat-trick all that matters to Owens

By Graham Luney

Published 08/11/2016

Priorities: Jordan Owens knows the Crues will have to dig deep at times
Priorities: Jordan Owens knows the Crues will have to dig deep at times

Jordan Owens says Crusaders will settle for winning ugly if it keeps them on track for three Danske Bank Premiership titles on the spin.

The Crues survived a Halloween scare at the weekend when Coleraine missed a last-minute penalty and keeper Sean O'Neill produced a string of incredible saves.

Owens' ninth Premiership goal of the season fired his side six points clear at the top of the table and Stephen Baxter's men will aim to make it 11 wins from 15 league games when they visit Glenavon tonight (7.45pm).

Linfield and Ballymena United, who meet tonight at the Showgrounds, are six points behind the champions and ready to exploit any slip-up from the Shore Road side.

Owens knows his side weren't firing on all cylinders against Coleraine but believes they can blow away the dust in Lurgan.

"It was a bit frightening at the end when they got the penalty but we battled hard and Sean (O'Neill) stepped up to save it," said the striker.

"We didn't play well, we weren't at our best, but we got the three points and we move on.

"Coleraine are a good young side and the league table shows that, they gave us a game and I'm sure they will be up there towards the end of the season.

"Sean pulled off a number of good saves when the pressure was on and that's what he's there for, he showed what a quality keeper he is.

"When you are 1-0 ahead you want to defend for your lives and the tackles will go in. We fought hard and I can't fault the boys for their determination to hold onto the win.

"Perhaps a few of the boys weren't so confident but we got the three points which gives us a bigger advantage at the top of the table. It's still early days and every game is tough.

"We play Glenavon now and they only got a draw after leading Linfield 2-0 but we will try to put on a better show and get the win. They have good players and a lot of people fancied them to put up a title challenge this season. They may not have started well but we have to look after ourselves and make sure we do our jobs.

"You can't win every week and there are some days when you have to take winning ugly. If you can go on to win the championship you will look back on games like the Coleraine one when we had to battle and hang on at the end. People say that's what champions are made of and we have to keep producing that never say die spirit."

Lurgan Blues boss Gary Hamilton has warned his players to do their jobs properly.

He said: "This year, for some reason at times, people are doing their own thing and it doesn't take a genius to work out that we are not having the same success."

Belfast Telegraph

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