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Frustrated Philip Lowry hoping to push on after difficult return from Covid and injury issues

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Philip Lowry. Credit: Inpho/Stephen Hamilton

Philip Lowry. Credit: Inpho/Stephen Hamilton

Inpho/Stephen Hamilton

Philip Lowry. Credit: Inpho/Stephen Hamilton

Crusaders midfielder Philip Lowry has endured a rough time with injury and Covid-19 and even the football is not lifting his spirits.

A scoreless draw at home to Carrick Rangers wasn’t the start to 2022 he had dreamt of but at least he’s back in the thick of the action.

The north Belfast side has been rocked by a Covid outbreak and they looked lethargic on Saturday but they will have to find fresh energy and invention for a crucial double header, with the derby at Cliftonville tomorrow and an Irish Cup clash at Glenavon on Friday.

“It’s been a difficult period, I picked up a bad injury against Larne in the semi-final of the Irish Cup and then haven’t really been able to regain fitness due to the nature of the injury,” said Lowry. “It’s damage in the groin and stomach region but I’m over it now and coming back.

“It can be a lonely road when you’re injured, particularly when other players are playing. You don’t know when you can come back but I’ve worked hard and can hopefully push on now.

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“I will gradually build up my minutes and that’s 90 minutes against Dungannon and another 90 against Carrick, hopefully I can build on that and kick on in 2022. I was positive with Covid-19 and ended up isolating for a second Christmas but thankfully I had no major symptoms. It is frustrating to be isolating but I’m feeling good.”

The Crues returned to action after league games against Glenavon and Cliftonville were postponed, and the virus clearly curtailed their preparation.

“We have trained once as a group since the Coleraine game and players aren’t robots. You just can’t turn it off and on,” added Lowry.

“The first half reflected the fact we haven’t been playing together and in the second half we clicked into gear but the ball wouldn’t go in and credit to Carrick, they hung on for the draw.”

Carrick boss Stuart King was thrilled with his side’s spirited showing. “We will try to deliver every week and if my boys give me everything like they did against Crusaders then we are only looking forward which is the way we should be,” said King.

CRUSADERS: Tuffey, Hegarty, Wilson (Burns 58), Lowry, Kennedy, Lecky (Forsythe 58), Caddell (Weir 67), O’Rourke, Larmour, Heatley (McMurray 58), Clarke (Owens 80).

Subs not used: O’Neill, Robinson.

CARRICK RANGERS: Skeet, Forsythe, Surgenor, Gordon, Cushley (Kalla 81), D Kelly, Cherry, Nixon (E Kelly 44), Gibson (Quinn 89), Tilney, Anderson.

Subs not used: Hogg, Buchanan-Rolleston, Doyle, Hoy.

Referee: Ian McNabb

Man of Match: Kurtis Forsythe

Match Rating: 5/10


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