Belfast Telegraph

Crusaders must 'swallow' Coleraine disappointment to bounce back, says Baxter

Fired up: Stephen Baxter wants Crusaders to kick on
Fired up: Stephen Baxter wants Crusaders to kick on

By Graham Luney

Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter will demand greater industry and invention from his side as they aim to return to winning ways in the Danske Bank Premiership.

The Crues head to Glenavon tomorrow still smarting from their 2-0 home defeat to Coleraine at the weekend.

It was a result which rounded off a disappointing week for the north Belfast side after a 1-1 draw at Ballymena United in the league, followed by a County Antrim Shield defeat at the same venue following a penalty shootout.

The result at Seaview maintained the Bannsiders' unbeaten record and underlined the increasing maturity of Oran Kearney's table toppers.

But it also cast a little further doubt on Crusaders' title winning mentality as they look to wrestle the Gibson Cup off Linfield.

The Crues did celebrate a 1-0 home win over the Blues, but they have failed to use that victory as a platform to gain fresh momentum.

Linfield are also motoring on with the speed of a greyhound who can smell lunch, and Baxter's men know they can't afford too many slip-ups.

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Glenavon have suffered six defeats in their opening 10 matches but they were unfortunate to lose 3-2 at Seaview in September when keeper Sean O'Neill saved Josh Daniels' penalty in added time.

Six points now separate the top five sides and Baxter accepts the challenges will not get any easier.

"The league is hard to call because you are through the first round of games and you will see the injuries and suspensions creep in," he said.

"That's generally what starts to affect teams.

"There are six very good teams up there that can turn it on and beat you, we are in the mix and it's a fabulous league this year.

"I look for a performance every week from the team and there's no added motivation after a defeat.

"The desire is to play well in every game and do our best. Against Coleraine we didn't get a result and you have to swallow that disappointment and improve in the next game."

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