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Owens determined to fuel Crues' quest for glory

 

By Alex Mills

Jordan Owens has warned he's on a goal mission for the rest of the season.

The striker was in unstoppable form in midweek, bagging a hat-trick in his team's six-goal hammering of Glenavon to help catapult Crusaders five points clear in the Danske Bank Premiership.

It took his goal tally for the season to 17 - but he's not happy with that.

He's looking to carry on where he left off when the Crues face rivals Cliftonville in tomorrow's white-hot north Belfast derby showdown at Solitude.

"I'm usually over the 20-mark at this stage, so that's now my aim," said Owens. "I was thrilled with my treble but more pleased with the team performance.

"I love scoring, not for personal gain but to help the team. Hopefully this can be the start of a big end-of-season push.

"I haven't been entirely happy with my scoring return so far, but hopefully I can go on and finish the season strongly. We have seven big games to go and we are looking forward to every match. We are playing with confidence."

Owens admits it will be a different proposition against a Cliftonville side struggling for consistency.

He added: "It's a big game, it's a derby and we are looking forward to it. Games between ourselves and the Reds are usually tight.

"We are going into it in the best possible shape after the victory over Glenavon. I think we sent out a serious statement. I think we showed our class and demonstrated our hunger."

Crues boss Stephen Baxter says he's got no problem keeping his boys grounded, even though their midweek performance had champions written all over it.

"No one is getting carried away," he said. "Cliftonville are an excellent side and always pose a big challenge, but it's one we are looking forward to. You can't afford to rest on your laurels.

"Look what happened in the Irish Cup when Loughgall defeated Glenavon. No one would have predicted that result.

"They beat us in the cup convincingly at their place, so we have to be at our best."

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