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Crusaders goal machine Owens is targeting derby joy against Cliftonville

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Red hot: Jordan Owens is gunning for Cliftonville

Red hot: Jordan Owens is gunning for Cliftonville

Brian Little

Red hot: Jordan Owens is gunning for Cliftonville

Jordan Owens is hoping to carry his hot goalscoring streak into this afternoon's north-Belfast derby at Solitude.

The Crusaders striker is brimming with confidence after coming off the bench to smash in two goals in a 3-0 win over Glenavon last weekend.

Owens has now found the net seven times this season, leaving him four short of hitting the 100 mark in his Crues career.

Seaview chief Stephen Baxter started the clash against the Lurgan Blues with five across the midfield and only Timmy Adamson up front, but Owens' goalscoring exploits in the second half could see the big hitman unleashed on the Reds from the start.

"It will be a big game and big atmosphere at Solitude so we know what to expect," said Owens.

"We will need to keep our shape and discipline and hopefully take our chances.

"Cliftonville are a top side and put simply, you have to play very well to take anything off them. They won two trophies last season and came close to winning a third.

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"They have got quality players in Joe Gormley and Liam Boyce who score goals for fun. That's how you win a league and their all round team performances have been outstanding."

The 3-0 victory over high-flying Glenavon was just the tonic the Crues needed after two successive draws.

However, Baxter's men have not been entirely convincing on the road, only winning one of their four away clashes – a 3-0 win at the Oval. And Crusaders have not won in their last nine visits to Solitude. Their last win was a 2-1 victory in October, 2009.

"We haven't done well there for a few matches but it's about working hard in training and it's a new game so it's all to play for again," said Owens.

"We'll work hard and see what we can do there. You never want your title rivals to build up a big lead on you.

"I don't think people should be writing off this Crusaders team – we finished runners-up last season and we can challenge again.

"We are a good team and you just look back on games in which we could and should have done better.

"It's not like last year when Cliftonville ran away with it. It could be a lot closer and I feel we can challenge."

Owens likes to set himself a goalscoring target of 20 for the season, but if playing regularly and still in possession of his shooting boots, the marksman could even hit 30 goals.

"You are always looking to hit the 20 mark," he added. "I hit 22 about two years ago so I'd be happy to beat that but 20 would be a reasonable score."


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