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Linfield's mind games won't work on Crusaders, says Burns

Billy Joe Burns has warned his old club Linfield that Crusaders won't pay any attention to the mind games coming out of Windsor Park.

The Crues boast a healthy nine-point lead in the title race and after the Blues' disappointing 1-1 draw at home to Portadown, their manager David Healy and skipper Andy Waterworth said the champions would retain the Gibson Cup.

Burns, who won three doubles at Linfield and hopes to make it title number three at Crusaders, knows there are still nine league matches to play and Stephen Baxter's side must visit Windsor Park after the split.

"Linfield players and their manager David Healy have been saying the title race is over but that's their way of putting more pressure on us," said last season's Ulster Footballer of the Year.

"They have to do that but we know that it's not over and if we slip up it's game on again. We certainly aren't taking anything for granted and we'll be taking that attitude into games."

Both sides face tricky away tests tomorrow with Linfield at Glentoran and the Crues taking on Portadown.

"Nine points is a good lead but we've got to put that out of our mind," added the 27-year-old. "One defeat for us and the gap could be six, we also face Linfield at Windsor Park and there's another potential big swing there.

"All we can do is focus on our own performances and we will need to be consistent as after the split you are playing the top teams and there's always a real edge in those games.

"It has felt like every game for us has been very important. After the league defeat to Linfield at Seaview, every league game felt like a cup final and you have to deal with those challenges. We've needed to have that big game mentality. Portadown went to Windsor and got a deserved point which was another reminder of how tough this league is.

"With the team winning the league for the last two seasons that has given the squad the extra bit of confidence and experience needed."

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