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Eddie hails crues' Smyth capture

By Graham Luney

Crusaders have conceded 11 goals in three CIS Insurance Cup clashes to date - so Cliftonville fans can expect their side to serve up a feast of goals against their derby rivals at Solitude this afternoon.

However, Reds chief Eddie Patterson has a message for his supporters - " It won't happen".

Crusaders moved this week to strengthen their rearguard by securing the services of Gary Smyth in a loan deal from Glentoran and Patterson has applauded his counterpart Stephen Baxter for making the shrewd move.

"Gary is a quality centre-back who will shore up their defence and he is a player of tremendous experience," said Patterson.

"We are actually struggling a bit at the back as Declan O'Hara is out with a twisted ankle but Gary is a great signing for the Crues and he will help keep their defence very organised and strong."

Cliftonville secured local bragging rights with a 4-1 victory over the Crues at Seaview however Patterson is bracing himself for a tough examination at Solitude.

"Derby games are always tricky and that result flattered us," he added.

"It was a difficult game and Crusaders were always in the contest up the latter stages.

"But I feel that all four teams still have a chance of getting out of the group - including Limavady if they can win their remaining three matches.

"There's still a lot to play for and nothing can be taken for granted, particularly when injuries and suspensions kick in."

The Reds have a one-point advantage over their neighbours while Donegal Celtic are two points adrift of the Shore Road men and United, who host the Hoops today, are yet to get off the mark.

Celtic are sweating on the fitness of CJ McGourty ahead of the Showgrounds battle.

The young midfielder picked up a back injury in Tuesday night's Co Antrim Shield victory over Glebe Rangers.

McGourty, who is also a GAA star for Antrim, impressed in the 2-0 success by scoring both goals at Suffolk Road.

Belfast Telegraph


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