Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter content with squad

NO NEW FACES: Crues boss Stephen Baxter
NO NEW FACES: Crues boss Stephen Baxter

Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter insists he will not be delving into the transfer market in the January sales.

Baxter, whose team closed that gap on Cliftonville at the top of the Premiership table to six points following their 1-0 win over Portadown on Tuesday, is happy with his current crop of players at Seaview.

“I’m comfortable with the squad we have – in saying that, I’ve no money to spend,” said Baxter.

“I’ll not be doing any business. We are trying to keep a lot of very good players happy. No one has indicated they want to go out the door.

“They are all solid professionals – they all know what is required of them.”

Gareth McKeown’s stunner edged the Crues closes to table-toppers Cliftonville, but Baxter prefers to keep a lid on things.

“All the teams are so evenly matched,” he adds. “We deserved three points against Cliftonville on Boxing Day, but didn’t get them.

“Linfield are now on the move. They are starting to beat the big teams that are around them. They are right back in the hunt.

“Tommy Breslin knows his side have to win every game, because all the other teams are fighting very hard to chase them.

“But we’ll not get caught up in that. We’ll focus on our next match, which is away to Glenavon. We haven’t won at Mourneview Park for a while, so that’s another huge game of football.

“We’ve just got to keep focused, keep looking after ourselves. I know we have a few suspensions coming our way, ahead of a big month – massive games in the league and Irish Cup, along with the League Cup final.”

Baxter added Tuesday’s win over the Ports was a “massive result”, adding: “Even though we really should have wrapped up the game in a more comprehensive manner, I’d be pleased with a 1-0 result in every game. We got the three points, no matter why we won by 10 or one.

“A few people have been hinting that we have been a bit direct in recent days, but I thought our passing and movement was magnificent. We had a hunger and desire about us.”

The manager also hailed the contribution of goal hero McKeown.

“We had 11 stunning performances, but his was incredible,” said Baxter. “He was man of the match by a country mile. It’s the best I’ve seen him play since he’s been at this football club. I was very pleased for home getting a goal.”