CRUSADERS v LINFIELD TIME FOR CRU BLOOD
Baxter to reshuffle pack after Irn Bru Cup heroics
STEPHEN BAXTER faces a selection headache ahead of tonight’s Betmclean League Cup quarter-final clash with Linfield.
The Crues are coming off the back of an impressive 2-1 win over Dundee United in the Irn Bru Cup, which guaranteed them semi-final involvement against Inverness Caledonian Thistle in February.
What made the victory even more staggering was the fact that Baxter rested a posse of his big guns including Billy Joe Burns, Colin Coates, Gavin Whyte and Paul Heatley.
But it’s a fair bet they will all be handed a start against David Healy’s stuttering Blues.
“We have to be very wise with the squad,” said Baxter. “Yes, we rested a four or five for the Scottish Cup tie but the boys who came in to the team did a fantastic job.
“They are top, top Irish League footballers who could probably walk into any team.
“The cup tie is a huge game of football. We are now in a run of big games so squad rotation becomes very important. We have Linfield, then Carrick Rangers and after that we travel to Coleraine.
“For four or five weeks we’ll be in action at the weekend and also in midweek.” David Jeffrey’s BALLYMENA UNITED put their League Cup crown on the line when they entertain erratic ARDS at The Showgrounds.
With striker Johnny Mcmurray back to his best after injury, Jeffrey’s boys will be expected to march into the semi-finals.
“We’ve already had a warning after Ards’ win over Linfield in the Shield a few weeks back,” said Jeffrey. “They also had an outstanding result against Glenavon in the last round of this tournament so we’ ll be taking nothing for granted.”
Defender Aaron Smyth must sit out a one game ban as CARRICK RANGERS welcome CLIFTONVILLE to the Loughshore Hotel Arena.
The versatile Mark Surgenor believes Rangers can use the he game to kickstart their season. on.
“The Reds have been on na a roll but on our day we are match for any team in the he league,” he said. “We haven’t ’t been getting the wee breaks s of late but this game is a welcome distraction.”
In t o n i g h t ’s other game Clif ford Adams’ BALLYCLARE COMRADES S make the trip to Stangmore re Park to face DUNGANNON ON SWIFTS. CARRICK RANGERS v CLIFTONVILLE (7.45)
DUNGANNON SWIFTS v BALLYCLARE COMRADES (7.45)
THE FUTURE’S BRIGHT player-boss Gary Hamilton celebrates one of Clingan’s penalties SAMMY CLINGAN held his nerve to slot home two goals from the penalty spot to keep Glenavon firmly on the title track.
The former Northern Ireland international turned in an assured performance over the 90 minutes and was rewarded with his second half strikes.
But it was another night of agony for Gary Haveron’s Glens,
BRENDAN RODGERS has made £5million-rated Reading defender Liam Moore a top January target. The Celtic boss is ready to test the resolve of his former club with a move for the Royals’ 24-year-old centre-back (left).
IT’S A TEAM GAME Crusaders beat Dundee United on Saturday and, inset, boss Stephen Baxter