Belfast Telegraph

Crusaders defence will be on red alert against free-scoring Lurgan Blues, insists Burns


By Graham Luney

Billy Joe Burns says he's not surprised Glenavon have been scoring goals for fun this season.

The Lurgan Blues are the Danske Bank Premiership's top scorers after smashing in 28 goals in nine league games this season.

Tomorrow it's the turn of the Crusaders defence to be put to the test at Seaview and they can expect the visitors to adopt another open, attacking approach.

Gary Hamilton's side are in the groove with attacking players such as Andy Mitchell, Mark Sykes and Bobby Burns catching the eye.

An away win would put the Mourneview men above the Crues in the table as both sides have won six, drawn two and lost one to date.

Former Linfield favourite Burns is anticipating another tough test against a formidable opponent with an eye for goal.

"Since Gary Hamilton took over at Glenavon, they have always been scoring goals," said Burns. "You always get a tough game against them and they have started the season very well.

"I believe the quality of the league has risen with teams like Glenavon, Cliftonville and Coleraine, who look unstoppable, asking questions of ourselves and Linfield.

"Glenavon do like to attack so perhaps they can leave gaps for us to exploit, but our problem this season has been playing consistently well for 90 minutes rather than just one half."

The Crues shook off the disappointment of their two draws in the league against Ards and Dungannon Swifts by cruising to a 3-0 win at Glentoran.

"It didn't feel during the game that we were playing particularly well but people have said that," said Burns.

"It's the standard we need to show every week but I don't look at league tables until January.

"Coleraine are looking good, they deservedly beat us, but we have another big game against Linfield coming up and these games are why you play the game."

Crusaders are mourning the loss of Billy Whiteside, the father of club treasurer Tommy, who passed away at the Cove Rangers game in Scotland last weekend, and some of the players will attend his funeral today.

"It's something you never expect to see at a football match," added Burns.

"It was a very hard game to play in but the team were somehow able to do a professional job and win the game.

"I've heard people say Billy died in the company of friends watching the team he supports and all our thoughts are with Tommy and his family at this sad time."

Belfast Telegraph


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