Belfast Telegraph

Douglas hoping for a response from Cliftonville in big derby duel with Crusaders

 

By Jonathan Martin

The first north Belfast derby of the season sees Crusaders host Cliftonville at Seaview tonight, with both sides looking to get back to winning ways after respective 5-0 defeats to Glentoran and Linfield.

Reds boss Marty Douglas said: "There's no better match to respond to than the north Belfast derby. If the girls can't get up for it then there's a problem. We had great training sessions on Sunday and Monday and the girls are looking forward to it.

"The fixture is blood and thunder as you'd expect. Plenty of the girls work with each other and have played futsal together and are from north Belfast. Games between us are usually physical."

The Reds currently sit in fourth and are six points behind leaders Linfield. Douglas, entering his fourth year as Cliftonville manager, added: "It's a huge game for us, we are six points behind the Blues and we don't want to fall further behind.

"We have a big couple of weeks coming up. We have Crusaders, Sion in the League Cup semi next Monday and Glentoran next Wednesday in the league. A win against Crusaders could really get us going again.

"Last year we had a win, a draw and a loss against Crusaders.

"Our best performance last year was at Seaview when we beat Crusaders 3-1. Our record against Crusaders is pretty much even.

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"Sometimes the football takes a back seat and usually in these games it comes down to who wants it more.

"We will be without Emma McMaster, that's a big loss to our midfield. Billie Simpson has also got a knock so will be out. Toni-Leigh Finnegan, who is 16, will be in at centre-half.

"We'll be fine and be strong enough to put on a good performance and hopefully get the win."

There is also a derby battle in the North West as Derry City host Sion Swifts.

Sion come into the fixture after a 10-0 victory away to Comber Rec.

Traditionally, games at the Brandywell between the sides have been tight affairs, and Derry are undefeated at home in the league against the Swifts.

In the other fixture, league leaders Linfield welcome Comber Rec to Midgley Park.

The Blues boast a perfect record coming into the fixture with four wins from their four games and are yet to concede.

Comber Rec come into the game after that 10-0 hammering at home to Sion Swifts and will be up against it.

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