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Skenderbeu v Crusaders: Crues have nothing to fear, says Declan Caddell

By Graham Luney

Published 13/07/2015

Brush off: Crusaders midfielder Declan Caddell tussles with Levadia Tallinn's Artsem Rakhmanau during last week's Champions League encounter in Estonia
Brush off: Crusaders midfielder Declan Caddell tussles with Levadia Tallinn's Artsem Rakhmanau during last week's Champions League encounter in Estonia

Declan Caddell says all the pressure will be on Skenderbeu tomorrow night and he's backing the Hatchetmen to carve out another shock result in Europe.

Crusaders head to Albania aiming to write another Champions League fairytale after their stunning success against Levadia Tallinn.

Michael Carvill's away goal in the 1-1 draw secured a first ever victory for the Shore Road side in European football's premier club competition but the Seaview history boys aren't finished yet.

Crues midfielder Caddell knows Skenderbeu are a class act and will be red-hot favourites to bring the Danske Bank Premiership champions down to earth with a bang but he's still dreaming of another miracle.

"I've been watching the highlights of their matches and they look a strong side who don't concede many goals but from a positive perspective they don't score too many either," said Caddell.

"I think if we can grab an away goal it would give us a boost and then anything can happen.

"All the pressure is on them as they are the favourites but we want to have something to fight for in the second leg and there's still a lot of belief in the camp.

"An Irish League side hadn't won in the Champions League since Linfield did it in the 1994-95 season and that tells you what an historic achievement it was.

"For a part-time side to achieve that feat is remarkable so it's something that should be celebrated and we've come this far so we'll see how far we can go.

"I felt we were the better side against Levadia Tallinn and it was no fluke result."

Carvill opened his Crusaders account with a sweet finish which ultimately fired his new side into the second qualifying round.

The Linfield old boy should blend in well at the home of the champions with his winning mentality and eye for goal.

Caddell added: "I always said to Billy Joe Burns who is good mates with Michael that his game would suit our style of play and he's made a stunning start with us.

"Whether he's playing on the wing or just behind big Jordan Owens, Michael is a player who can cause teams problems.

"Stephen (Baxter) has always been a manager who knows how to get the best out of his players and Richard Clarke is the prime example, really showing his class after some difficult times at Glentoran. It's great to have players of that quality and we are only warming up for the season.

"In my experience you aren't really up to speed fitness-wise until around six matches into the season so we have a long way to go before that sharpness returns."

Caddell is also relieved that star man Paul Heatley will be on the charter flight after his employers, Ulster Bank, were initially reluctant to give the winger a day off to make the trip.

Heatley was informed he couldn't have the time off but the persuasive powers of Crusaders got the desired result.

"It would have been disappointing to lose him," added Caddell. "We would have had to battle on but we have guys like Gavin Whyte and Richard Clarke, who didn't start in Estonia, to come in and do jobs.

"Jordan Forsythe is another player who can come in and perform so the manager has a number of boys he can rely on but losing Paul would have been a massive blow as not only is he the best player at Crusaders, he's the best in the Irish League and his assist for Michael Carvill's goal in Estonia was incredible. Thankfully, he's joining us and it's a great relief to him and all of us."

Belfast Telegraph

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