Crusaders' Philip Lowry relishing a new chapter after nightmare campaign
Crusaders midfielder Philip Lowry says last season was "a disaster" for him personally but now he's hungry to grasp major silverware again.
Lowry was based in London and found the travelling difficult while a few injuries also hampered his progress, but now he's living in Belfast and keen to repay the faith boss Stephen Baxter is showing in him.
The former Derry City and Linfield ace can feel his sharpness and match fitness improving and he's determined to stamp his class on matches as the Crues set about regaining the league title.
A 4-1 win at Ballymena United was an impressive start for Baxter's side, who will take on newly promoted Warrenpoint Town in the first Seaview clash of the new campaign tonight.
"I wasn't really expecting to play against Ballymena United as I had returned from my honeymoon in Bali on the Sunday evening and only had the two training sessions after that," said Lowry.
"I'm happy now, I'm living in Belfast and it's a fresh start for me.
"Ever since I left Derry City, I have felt like I haven't really settled with a club.
"I was living in London and the Portadown move didn't work out.
"Last year was a disaster in terms of my form and fitness. I found the travel difficult and was unable to feature regularly because of the size of the squad.
"I picked up injuries, including a broken hand and hamstring issues, but this is a new chapter and I'm feeling fitter and stronger.
"I've had a good chat with Stephen and he has put a lot of faith in me. The whole squad is hungry to do better this season, including myself. People can write us off but there was only two points between ourselves and Linfield in the title race and I believe we will be stronger this time. You have guys like myself, Skinner (Matthew Snoddy) and Colin Coates who are back fit and playing."
Warrenpoint Town lost their opening top-flight fixture 3-2 to Glenavon but they fought back from 2-0 down in that game and Matthew Tipton's side can take heart from that performance.
"Matthew will have them very well organised," warned Lowry. "I played with Matthew at Linfield and I know what a great finisher he was. As a manager he will get Town moving in the right direction and his wealth of experience will be a huge asset."