Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter insists his team can’t afford to drop any more “cheap points” if they are to get back on title track.
The Shore Road boys, recovering form a bruising draw against Linfield in midweek, have gradually fallen off the pace, but are still within touching distance of the top two.
“The league table always looks after itself,” said Baxter. “
There is no question that Linfield and Cliftonville are in the box seats, being six and five points ahead off us respectively.
“They have the big squads and they have the quality.
“Therefore, you could say that we are playing catch-up. But things can change, especially when you go into a tough run of games.
“Granted, some things need to fall our way, but I always expect to win football matches.
“Therefore, I am hoping we can nudge our way back into the title race.
“I’ve been informed that we have only been beaten once in 30 games, which is impressive, but there have been too many draws in there.
“The boys are playing their hearts out every week and I can’t ask a lot more of them.
“There are still 39 points to play for . . . there will be a lot of big games coming up. We are six points behind, so all we can do is hang in there and trying to keep winning our games.
“I can’t ask much more of the players. They give their all every week and they are a great bunch to work with.”
Crusaders make the journey to Milltown on Saturday to face a Warrenpoint Town side that slipped back to 11th in the table following their defeat at Coleraine on Tuesday.
“Undoubtedly, our worst performance of the season,” said Warrenpoint assistant boss Harry Fay.
“There were no excuses, we simply didn’t show anything over the 90 minutes.
“It was a shadow of the side that had won three out of four games a few weeks’ earlier. This will be another massive test of character against a title chasing team.
“But we give them a good game at Stangmore earlier this season. Hopefully, we can do the same.”