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Full Time

Baxter thrilled as Jensen is told his injury isn't career-ending

 

By Gareth Hanna

Crusaders goalkeeper Brian Jensen will be back in the Crusaders squad for this afternoon's match against Ards.

The 42-year-old former Burnley star has been out for over a month with a knee injury picked up in training.

Baxter had said the club were 'a little anxious' about the problem but has confirmed that initial fears over an end to Jensen's career have been eased after a surgeon's assessment.

"Brian is flying in tomorrow and will be involved in the squad going forward," said Baxter.

"He got a good result from the surgeon. We thought it was going to be surgery, which would have ended his career, but the surgeon has given him the okay to play until the end of the season.

"He does need a tidy-up from injuries of old but he has been training for two weeks and we have a lot of games coming up.

"Having Sean (O'Neill) fit again is a huge boost to us but he's had a couple of niggles since he came in so having all of our goalkeepers fit is good news for us."

Jensen will no doubt have a tough job wrestling a starting spot off O'Neill, who has kept three clean sheets in seven successive victories since his return from a seven-month spell out after shoulder surgery.

On Thursday evening, Ballymena United boss David Jeffrey said on the club's official Facebook account that Crusaders had contacted the Sky Blues regarding goalkeeper Conor Brennan.

And while Baxter admitted that the Seaview club were keen on the player, he revealed the former Kilmarnock stopper is heading back to the professional game.

"We look for short-term, medium-term and long-term plans and next season is something we have to be aware of," he said.

"Conor Brennan is someone who has come down to train with us and wanted to keep in touch with me but he is going back to full-time football in the near future so that will stop."

Brennan signed for the Sky Blues during the summer after returning to his native Northern Ireland but hasn't played a Premiership game since October.

Jeffrey also said that no clubs have been in contact regarding defender Kyle Owens, despite speculation linking the 25-year-old with a move to Linfield or Crusaders. Owens' brother Jordan, of course, is the Crues' all-time leading goalscorer.

Crusaders host Ards at Seaview in the Danske Bank Premiership this afternoon (kick-off 3pm).

• Ards have signed Luke Kelly from Leinster Senior League champions St Mochta's FC, and defender Reece Neale and striker Timmy Browne from Linfield Swifts.

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