Belfast Telegraph

Crusaders can rack up a few wins and challenge at top, says Baxter

Target: Stephen Baxter is aiming for good run of results
Target: Stephen Baxter is aiming for good run of results

By Ian Callender

It's been more than two months since Crusaders have won back to back away games in the Danske Bank Premiership but they have another chance to do that at Warrenpoint today.

Victory at the Belfast Loughshore Arena last Friday night against Carrick Rangers ended a run of three straight draws and five games without a win but manager Stephen Baxter never doubted his team.

"It was a strange run. We've lost two games of football in the league and people were talking about our indifferent form," he said. "But there has been a lot going on behind the scenes, the amount of injuries, but we were still getting something out of games despite chopping and changing.

"When you have a settled team things sometimes look very easy and it was until the Linfield game (at the beginning of October). But all of a sudden that changes and it is a test, so it was important to get back on the horse.

"I knew Carrick were in good form and getting good results - that's why I went to watch them at Ballymena - so I knew it would be a difficult game, but it was important we found the solution.

"There are no easy games in Irish League football these days and it was pleasing we got the result with a good performance in the second half at Carrick, but it was just three points."

Despite scoring only four goals in their five winless games, Baxter denied there was a lack of confidence around goal. "There was no lack of confidence, they have been buzzing around training. You just had to see Jamie McGonigle's finish against Carrick - sublime," he said.

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Crusaders have won 13 of their 16 Premiership games against Warrenpoint - and drawn the other three 1-1 - but although Barry Gray's side are rock bottom of the league table, Baxter is treating the game and the opposition like any other.

"We expect to win every game, so this will be no different," he added. "But then I expect every other team to be saying the same about us - and so they should."

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