Cushley warns against complacency before visit of struggling Ballymena
Hotshot David Cushley insists Crusaders will not be lured into a bout of mind games ahead of today's clash with Ballymena Unitedat Seaview.
David Jeffrey's struggling Sky Blues have won only one of their last 10 games in all competitions - and that was a Shield success against Championship side H&W Welders. In fact, their last league win was back on September 29 when they defeated Cliftonville.
Since then, the Boys form the Braid have spiralled down to eighth place in the Danske Bank Premiership table - just ahead of struggling Glenavon on goal difference.
In contrast, the Crues have recovered from an October wobble and, after last weekend's goal blitz at Dungannon Swifts - they won 6-1 - they approach today's game sitting proudly at the top of the division.
"People may say Ballymena's form is not good going into this game, but that means nothing - we all know that," said Cushley, who grabbed one of the goals in the midweek League Cup tie against Institute, helping the Crues claim a place in the final against Coleraine on February 15.
"Every team that comes up against us raises their game... we have learnt that down the years.
"Ballymena finished second in the league table, they don't become a bad team overnight.
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"Yes, their results may be disappointing by their own high standards, but with a manager like David Jeffrey it's only a matter of time before they get back on track."
Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter may reshuffle his pack. He will again be without the injured Rory Hale and Jordan Owens today.
In fact, it was because of Owens' problem - he had to have six stitches inserted in an achilles wound - that Cushley got his chance to shine against Institute.
"We have a big squad at the club, which is well documented," added Cushley, who signed a new two-year contract extension, along with winger Reece McGinley, this week.
"When players get their chance, they have to take it. Hopefully, I did enough to keep my place against Ballymena at the weekend.
"Personally, I do quite well against Ballymena... I've managed to score a few goals against them even though I still have a few good mates at the club.
"It was good to get a goal in the League Cup tie in midweek... it means we have another final to look forward to a bit further down the line.
"My goal came at a good time, just before the interval. To be fair to Institute, they worked hard and they knocked the ball about well.
"When Jordan (Forsythe) scored just after the break, it kind of ended the contest. We could have won more comfortably, but we did enough to get over the line."