Belfast Telegraph

Crusaders will go through the gears, insists Baxter

By Graham Luney

After failing to win either of their opening two Premiership clashes, there was a feeling that normal service had resumed at Seaview last Saturday.

Champions Crusaders returned to their swashbuckling best, blowing away Ballinamallard United 5-0 and tails are up as they head to Lurgan for a tough assignment against Glenavon this afternoon.

After the opening day loss to Portadown and draw at Glentoran, the Shore Road men attracted some criticism but the Crues are notoriously slow starters and no-one was reaching for the panic button, especially boss Stephen Baxter.

"We struggled last season in our first four games but the fact is we have a very capable squad here," said the former Linfield and Crues striker. "We demand very high standards from the boys and they are all working very hard. Colin (Coates) had an illness for a few weeks and he still wasn't 100 per cent last weekend but he was more himself. You need your key people fit and available.

"Barry Molloy has been training for a few weeks and he will be back soon. You will see teams finding their feet in the first few games and I've heard Premier League managers in England say the same. Some of our players have been quiet and different players get into the swing of things at different speeds."

The Danske Bank Premiership fixture between Portadown and Glenavon scheduled for Saturday, September 5 has been postponed.

Joel Cooper and Rhys Marshall were called up to the Northern Ireland Under-21 side for games against Scotland and Iceland next month, while James Singleton is on the standby list.

The match will now be played on Tuesday, September 22 (7.45pm).

Belfast Telegraph


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