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Eddie Patterson's fearless boys are tough to beat: Billy Joe Burns

By Billy Weir

Despite their lofty and commanding positioning at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership, Crusaders' rampaging full-back Billy Joe Burns says Glentoran are far from underdogs.

Indeed he suggests that Eddie Patterson's young pups are more than capable of biting the legs of the title favourites when they lock horns at Mourneview Park tomorrow afternoon.

"At the minute you could argue that Glentoran are the form team - they're flying at the minute," said Burns.

"They have a young team that is very hungry and Eddie (Patterson) has them playing good football and they stick to that no matter what.

"I think we've played them three times this season and all three have been very tight games.

"I wouldn't say they have surprised me but they are a young team and with that you have that fearless attitude.

"No-one is afraid to do anything and the expectations are maybe not as heavy on them so they go out and work hard for each other."

It is a mantra that has served Stephen Baxter's men well too, and in Burns he has a man who has witnessed the highs and lows of the competition during his glittering spell with Linfield

"It's an Irish Cup semi-final and if you win that then it's the biggest day out of the year and everyone wants to be in the final," he added.

"The Irish Cup has been good to me, I've been involved with three squads that have won the cup but in the past couple of seasons I haven't done overly well in it.

"We won it three years in a row at Linfield and I got a taste for it. It's the best day of the year, the sun is usually shining and there's a big crowd. But it's all well and good talking about the final, you have to get past the semi-final first."

A key man in achieving that could well be winger Paul Heatley, who has been in scintillating form this season.

Like Burns though, he is keen to keep the focus on one step at a time.

"It's a massive competition and we want to reach the final and win it. The club and players are in it to win it," he said.

"The manager has us all composed and although we get excited after every game at this stage, the next day it is back to concentrating on the next game."

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