Belfast Telegraph

I wouldn't dare let Crues rest on their laurels, insists Baxter

By Graham Luney

Crusaders may hold a seven-point lead at the summit of the Danske Bank Premiership but boss Stephen Baxter has warned his men they must keep their foot on the pedal.

The title race could take another twist tonight with the Crues travelling to face Dungannon Swifts while Linfield host Portadown.

David Healy's side, buoyed by their County Antrim Shield success, are hungry to exploit any slip-up from the champions and Baxter admits his boys mustn't lose focus at a crucial stage of the campaign.

"This is a massive game against Dungannon because this is a ground that we have always found difficult and just got over the line in the last two or three outings up there," said Baxter.

"Rodney (McAree) has them playing a lovely brand of football and they are very organised and competitive with goalscorers in their team.

"For me, seven points is not a commanding lead.

"I always thought of nine or 12 points as being a gap which gives you a bit of a cushion. But we can't concentrate on the gap, regardless of what it is.

"We only play the game in front of us, it's a case of forget about protecting leads, play the football match and hit them with your best shot like a boxer."

The Crues could face Swifts dangerman Andrew Mitchell tonight as the striker is nearing a first-team return after a spell in the treatment room.

Elsewhere in the Premiership tonight, Cliftonville take on Glentoran in front of the Sky Sports cameras at Solitude while Glenavon welcome Ballinamallard United to Mourneview Park.

The Mallards are still on a high after their 1-0 win over the Reds last weekend.

• Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton isn't considering a move for Glentoran defender Jay Magee.

Ballymena United are interested in signing the former Lurgan Blues centre-back, whose contract expires at the end of the season.

Belfast Telegraph


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