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Owens laughs off Blackpool interest ahead of Fulham clash

By Graham Luney

Jordan Owens has dismissed Blackpool’s offer to him as “disgraceful”.

Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter and Owens both laughed off the offer that came through from Bloomfield Road for the striker and winger Stuart Dallas.

Both men will, however, have another opportunity to shine in front of cross-channel scouts when the Crues take on Fulham in the Europa League on Thursday.

For Crusaders players, the second qualifying round fixture is the match of their lives and they’re counting down the minutes.

Owens can’t wait to get running at Northern Ireland skipper Aaron Hughes at Seaview but he’s still recovering from the cheeky bid from Blackpool.

“It wasn’t a great deal and what they offered me and the club was not good enough,” said Owens.

“The Crues were not prepared to accept the offer and what they offered me was disgraceful really.

“It was just not acceptable. It came down to their chairman offering a deal which Stephen (Baxter) laughed at himself.

“They didn’t come back to us but we couldn’t leave the Irish League and live on what they were offering.

“It’s fine living here and being happy but you’re taking a gamble going over there and you could be unhappy.

“I’m going to be a father soon and I told Stephen (Baxter) I would find it very hard to live on what they offered.

“I’ve another year and a half left on my contract and I’m happy here.

“The future is bright for Crusaders but it’s also true that if you score a goal in a big game like this you never know who could be watching you.

“I’m sure there will be a lot of scouts there watching the players.”

Crusaders have suffered a double blow ahead of the match with midfielders Chris Morrow and Declan Caddell being sidelined for the Fulham double-header after picking up injuries in recent friendly outings against Larne and Bangor, respectively.

But Owens, who is fit and raring to go, added: “There’s a great atmosphere at the club and it will be a very big experience, particularly for the younger ones.

“We will be up for the task and it will certainly be interesting taking on a Premier League club.

“We’ll be going for the win. We aren’t going to say anything else as we will compete. The boys will be prepared for it.

“It’s got the feeling of an Irish Cup final with the interest surrounding it. Me and Stuart (Dallas) weren’t with Aaron (Hughes) and Chris (Baird) in the Northern Ireland squad for the Carling Cup matches but I’m sure they will know all about us.

“It will be a very different game than what we are used to coping with.

“They will have more time on the ball because they are good players.”

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