Belfast Telegraph

World Cup 2018

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Carrick have already shown Crusaders that nothing can be taken for granted, says Baxter

Crusaders v Carrick Rangers, Toals County Antrim Shield Semi-Final, Seaview, Tonight, 7.45pm

By Alex Mills

Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter insists motivation will not be an issue in tonight's Toals County Antrim Shield semi-final against ailing Carrick Rangers at Seaview.

Local bookmakers would have every right to stop taking bets on this game because there is a massive gulf in class between the teams.

Baxter's boys approach the tie in the best possible shape, having won eight and drawn one - that was against table toppers Coleraine at the weekend - in their last nine games.

Struggling Rangers, meanwhile, have won only once since October 21 - against Dundela in the Shield quarter-final last month.

In fact, David McAlinden's boys have managed to find the net only once in their last six outings, and on their last visit to the Shore Road a fortnight ago they were hit for seven.

Baxter, however, stresses his boys will be taking nothing for granted.

"Obviously Carrick's results haven't been what they would have wanted of late," he said.

"Their manager wasn't happy with his team at the weekend and he pulled no punches with his comments afterwards.

"That tells me the team will be wounded and they will be busting a gut to put it right. They will also have memories of their last visit to Seaview, so that will be another big factor for them to put things right. We'll certainly not be underestimating them in any shape or form.

"I remember we faced them in back-to-back games a couple of years back. We were chasing down the title. We beat them with a bit to spare at Seaview, but in the midweek game they turned us over. It proves you can take nothing for granted in this game."

McAlinden finally lost patience with his struggling team at the weekend following their 4-0 drubbing at Dungannon Swifts, and blasted: "It's now over to them. I'm not prepared to make any more excuses. I've told them (the players) I'm not going anywhere.

"I'm prepared to fight for the club and the people who put faith in me."

Belfast Telegraph

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