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Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter relishing challenge of facing old favourites at Glenavon


Colin Coates

Colin Coates


Colin Coates

Crusaders will travel to Mourneview Park tomorrow knowing exactly what to expect.

Familiar faces Colin Coates and Sean Ward have left the Seaview aces to put their shoulder to the wheel for the Lurgan Blues and their knowledge - as well as that of loan star Matthew Snoddy - of the visitors will be impressive.

But the Crues will anticipate ferocious opposition, no matter who they face, while the former Shore Road trio will be hungry to haunt old comrades but Baxter is not expecting any surprises with regard to the level of opposition.

"It's always tough for us at Glenavon but we will prepare well and give it a go," said the Crues chief.

"Glenavon have a young fella called Coates who plays at the back for them as well as Snoddy and Wardy. They always have been a very good side. They will be well up for the game but so will we."

Four points behind champions and league leaders Linfield, the Crues are looking to stay in contention as winter approaches.

Defeats away to the Blues and Larne, while disappointing, have not dented belief because the squad depth is strong and last weekend's second-half fightback against a spirited Dungannon Swifts side underlined a winning mentality.

"It's always important to get the team playing with confidence and a swagger," added Baxter.

"You want to see heart and desire and I felt we saw all that in the second-half against Dungannon.

"The first-half performance wasn't up to our level and we needed to step it up.

"The first round of games is about trying to get as many points on the board as you can and you're chalking off the games.

"After the first 11 games, you want to be in that top four because it's a tough league. Every point is a prisoner and you are trying to get as many as you can.

"I'm pleased with our points collection.

"In the two games we lost, we were disappointed at Windsor but at Larne we were a bit behind them."

Crues ace Ben Kennedy, who scored two penalties against the Swifts, added: "We are focusing on ourselves and know how well we can play.

"It's a tough league with good teams and Glenavon are a strong side but we know we are capable of going there and getting a result."

Belfast Telegraph

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