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Crusaders are now biggest club in the country, says new signing Patterson


By Steven Beacom

New Crusaders striker Rory Patterson has declared he has joined the 'biggest club in Northern Ireland' and insists he is ready to bring more title glory to Seaview.

Patterson's move from Derry City to the Crues on a one year deal is a clear sign of intent from the champions ahead of the new Danske Bank Premiership season which kicks-off tomorrow.

The former Coleraine and Linfield ace, who won five Northern Ireland caps, is confident that even at 34 he can play a key role in the north Belfast club's aim to win a fourth championship in five years.

Patterson was introduced to the Seaview faithful before last night's Europa League second qualifying round second leg 1-1 draw against Slovenian outfit Olimpija Ljubljana in which Paul Heatley scored as the Shore Road men lost 6-2 on aggregate.

"Crusaders have been going well winning three titles in recent years and right now they are the biggest team in the north and I'm here to win titles and trophies," said Patterson, immediately endearing himself to the Crusaders faithful.

"It's been a few years now since I was winning trophies and that hunger will never leave. It's just in me to win at anything I do. The set-up is here for me to go and do that."

Patterson believes his old club Coleraine will once again provide the Crues with stiff opposition.

"Coleraine had a storming season last time when at the start they would have been outsiders," he added. "Oran Kearney has a good young team and they'll put in another good challenge."

Patterson added: “I know a few of the boys at Crusaders and I got talking to Michael Carvill recently and he said there was a bit of interest and my ears pricked up at that.

“I thought what better manager to play under than Stephen Baxter.

“He has a good thing going here at Crusaders and he has proved that with the trophies they have won.

“I’m really excited to get going in the Irish League again.

“I haven’t played the last couple of games with Derry but I’m raring to go and fit and ready to contribute.

“Over the years I have proved I can score goals and Stephen has brought me to score goals and to win matches and to win trophies.”

With last season’s Player of the Year Gavin Whyte now with Oxford United there have been some suggestions that the Crues would adopt a different playing style this term.

Could Patterson have been signed to play up front with Jordan Owens, who is returning to fitness quicker than expected after picking up a hamstring injury last month.

Owens could be available for the home Danske Bank Premiership game with Ballymena United on August 11.

“I’m not too sure what the set- up will be,” says Patterson, who may make his Crues debut in their league opener on Monday night at home to Ards.

“First and foremost I want to get in the team.

“I know Jordan is out at the moment and that is a big loss.

“I don’t see why we couldn’t play as a partnership.

“I’m sure he can bring the best out of me and hopefully I can do that for him as well.”

Patterson admitted it was tough to leave Derry for the second time, especially as he was approaching Mark Farren’s all- time goalscoring record of 113 for the Brandywell outfit.

“A few people close to me were saying I was closing down on Mark Farren’s scoring record at Derry so it was tough to leave,” said the ex-Plymouth Argyle front man.

“I’ve been there for a few years and I’ve got to know a lot of the players and the people upstairs have been very good to me.

“The chairman and chief executive have been amazing since I walked in the door, but they gave me their blessing (to leave for Crusaders).”

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