SKIPPER Colin Coates has praised Stephen Baxter after the Crusaders manager was this week named top boss for October.
Baxter was honoured by the Northern Ireland Football Writers’ Association after guiding the Crues to an unbeaten month.
The Shore Road men also recorded victories against Cliftonville, Glentoran and Ballinamallard, while also reaching the quarter-finals of the IRN-BRU League Cup.
“The manager always reflects on his players after winning an award like this, but Stephen picks the team so he deserves this success,” Coates said.
“We had a good month of October and our league form was pretty good. I think the players Stephen has brought to the club are starting to gel, and it is reflected in our results.
“He has taken the club to another level, and I think we are playing a different brand of football this season, one that might help us get through the full season.
“So he deserves all the praise for this monthly award.”
Baxter added: “I’m not just picking up this award for myself, I’m picking it up for the whole team.
“It’s been a stiff month and they’ve performance exceptionally well.
“We’ve got a good competitive league this year, which is what everyone wants.”
Meanwhile Paul Heatley’s second goal in Crusaders’ 2-0 win over Ballinamallard United at Ferney Park was been voted October’s Goal of the Month by the NIFWA.
Heatley’s memorable second half strike gave the Crues a crucial three points against one of the league’s inform sides.
The former Carrick Rangers man flicked the ball up before unleashing a dipping volley from 25 yards that found the top corner of Alvin Rouse’s net.