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Stephen Baxter keen to make up for League Cup misery in County Antrim Shield

By David Mason

Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter is determined to net a County Antrim Shield semi-final spot as a consolation for missing out on the quarter-finals of the League Cup.

The Crues were the victims of an upset when they lost to Championship 1 strugglers Institute a fortnight ago.

Baxter made a number of changes to his team that night and will likely do so again when they face Ballymena United this evening, with winger Gavin Whyte almost certainly out and striker Jordan Owens a doubt.

Chris Morrow and Declan Caddell could make their first-team comebacks following injury lay-offs.

Baxter said: "It's a game that I would like to win because we went out of the other knockout tournament, the League Cup, very cheaply when we were beaten at home by Institute.

"So, I'll be looking for a good performance this time. We have boys sitting on the bench of late itching to get a start, but we are not in a position to make wholesale changes.

"Ballymena are a capable side and they'll be coming to our place with nothing to lose.

"As I've said before, there are no easy games in the league. We are now down to the last eight in the Shield and it will be an identical scenario."

Braidmen boss Glenn Ferguson will delve into his squad's resources as striker Matthew Tipton is out after picking up an automatic one-game ban following his dismissal against Dungannon Swifts at the weekend.

Defender Gareth Rodger and midfielder Gary Thompson also miss out due to injury.

Ferguson said: "We'll be a few key players down, but we'll get on with it. It's part and parcel of the game. We won this tournament a few years back, it would be good to progress."

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