It's not win or bust for Crusaders and Linfield yet, insists Caddell
Crusaders midfielder Declan Caddell doesn't buy into the theory that tonight's showdown with Linfield at Windsor Park is make or break for both clubs.
It would normally be billed as a top-of-the-table clash, especially as it will be beamed out live on Sky Sports, but both teams are playing catch-up with Coleraine and Glenavon setting a blistering pace at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership.
Although they have played two games less, Stephen Baxter's boys find themselves a whopping 11 points behind the Bannsiders.
Caddell, however, insists there will be no alarm bells sounding at this stage, even though he admits the Crues can't afford to let the gap widen much further.
"We are only 10 games in, it is early season, but we realise a bit of a gap has developed, especially after the weekend results," said Caddell.
"That's something we don't mind. We hit the front early on last season and stayed there right until the final few weeks before we were eventually caught.
"I think it is a lot tougher when you are at the top, there is a bit more pressure on when you are leading, but Coleraine appear to be handling that at the minute.
"This will not be a league decider in any shape or form. It's three points at the end of the day. In saying that, we don't want to fall too far off the pace."
When the teams met at Seaview last month, it was the Crues who emerged triumphant and Caddell is expecting another tight, cagey affair.
"It's set up for a blockbuster, as it always is when the teams meet," he said.
"We didn't beat them at all last season in something like seven meetings, but we managed to put that right at Seaview earlier in this campaign.
"Games between the clubs over the past four or five years have all been close. We have had some outstanding matches, they have been a great spectacle for the local game. It's one we always look forward to.
"We always enjoy playing at Windsor Park. It's a magnificent stadium, it's always a big game against Linfield. The boys are always up for it."
Strangely, the Crues' form away from home has been more impressive so far.
They've already lost to the league's top two teams at Seaview and dropped points against both Ards and Dungannon Swifts.
"Yes, we've had a few disappointing results, especially at Seaview," added Caddell.
"We need to put that right over the course of the season, but we are happy at where we are at. It's a long hard road - there is still a lot of football to be played."
Linfield vs Crusaders
Danske Bank Premiership:
Windsor Park, Tonight, 7.45pm