Belfast Telegraph

It's time to restore Seaview's fortress status, demands Crusaders star Heatley

Crusaders vs Ballinamallard; Danske Bank Premiership; Seaview, Tonight, 7.45pm

By Alex Mills

Paul Heatley believes Crusaders must strive to make Seaview a fortress again - starting in tonight's clash with Ballinamallard United.

Stephen Baxter's boys approach the game in the best possible shape, having racked up an impressive 5-2 win over Danske Bank Premiership champions Linfield on Monday night.

In fact, the Crues have an unblemished record away from home - their problems have all occurred on the Shore Road. They've lost to table-topping Coleraine and second-placed Glenavon in front of their home fans, while Ards and Dungannon Swifts were happy to go down the road with a point.

Heatley believes it's crucial the Crues now get their own house in order. He said: "I don't know what that is all about. Yes, the stats tell you we haven't been very good at home this season.

"For four or five years we have been unstoppable at Seaview, it's been our fortress. But every team goes through a little dodgy spell from time to time.

"We lost our last league game to Glenavon at home, but turned in a great performance to defeat Coleraine in the League Cup, their only defeat of the season so far. Fingers crossed that will be a turning point. Hopefully we can step up to the plate from here on in, both at home and away."

The Crues were brilliant against Glentoran and then against the Blues, in front of the Sky Sports television cameras.

And, not surprisingly, Heatley was a pivotal feature in both.

"I seem to score every time Sky Sports are in town - perhaps they should come more often," he said. "It's nice to put on a performance like that in front of live cameras. We'll not be getting carried away. It's only one game and three points, nothing else."

Heatley believes his team are ready to move up the gears in a bid to claw back both Glenavon and Coleraine.

"There is more to come from us," he added. "The boys may have turned in a magical performance (at Windsor) but it was really hard graft.

"We may have won 5-2, but we had to ride out the storm when they pulled it back to 3-2. We were under a bit of pressure, but you expect that when you come to Windsor.

"That was an overdue display from us, it had been coming. Now we must go on a run and build up a bit of momentum. We usually do that when we come through a bit of a rough patch. But we'll not get ahead of ourselves. It's only one game.

"We have a big run of games coming up, starting on Friday with Ballinamallard. It's important we focus on one game at a time."

Belfast Telegraph

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