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Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter admits interest in striker Curtis Allen

Curtis Allen is a wanted man

Curtis Allen is a wanted man

Crusaders are preparing a move for striker Curtis Allen as they look to inject more firepower into their title challenge.

Former Inverness CT forward Allen is a free agent after being released by the Scottish Premiership club last week.

The news alerted a number of Irish League clubs ahead of the New Year transfer window.

Glentoran are one club monitoring the striker’s situation, and on Saturday Crues boss Stephen Baxter declared his interest in the former Coleraine and Linfield hitman.

“Yes. It’s fair to say I will be making an approach,” Baxter said.

“Curtis is a good finisher and a player we have admired for some time.

“I would imagine any number of Irish League clubs would be interested in him.

“His time in Scotland didn’t work out, but he is a top player in this country and he has real pedigree in the local game.

“If we can make it work, we’d love to bring him to Seaview. We haven’t spoken yet, but we have arranged to meet up and discuss where he sees his future.

“We are a good side and I think he’d enjoy playing his football with us. We’ll see what happens.”

Crusaders go into Thursday’s Boxing Day showdown with champions Cliftonville on the back of what was their first defeat in 25 games on Saturday.

David Cushley’s goal sealed a 1-0 win for Ballymena United at the Showgrounds.

The defeat saw Baxter’s side fall four points behind Danske Bank Premiership leaders Linfield ahead of the crunch festive period.

Ironically, it was Ballymena who had last defeated the Crues – way back on August 17.

Linfield extended their lead at the top with a 3-2 victory over Portadown.

Goals from Andy Waterworth, Jamie Mulgrew and Mark McAllister cemented their place at the summit.

The defeat leaves Portadown 10 points adrift.

Champions Cliftonville made it 11 games unbeaten in the Premiership with a narrow 1-0 win over Ballinamallard United.

Marty Donnelly was on target again to claim the points for Tommy Breslin’s side.

Elsewhere, Coleraine suffered a seventh successive league defeat against Dungannon Swifts at the Showgrounds.

Tery Fitzpatrick and Stefan Lavery were on target for the Swifts – who edged into the top six with their win.

Ards boosted their survival hopes with a spirited point against Glentoran at Clandeboye Park.

All eyes will now turn to Boxing Day’s mouth-watering fixture schedule, with a number of massive derbies taking centre stage.

Crusaders v Cliftonville at Seaview is arguably the pick of the bunch, while Glentoran’s home clash with Linfield is another titanic showdown.

Add in Glenavon v Portadown, Ballymena v Coleraine, Warrenpoint v Ards and Ballinamallard v Dungannon, and it all points to a Christmas cracker.

 

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