Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter sets sights on three points

Stephen Baxter
Stephen Baxter

Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter admits there is no time to start licking wounds and will be sending his team out to pocket three points from Friday night’s Premier League clash against Coleraine at the Ballycastle Road Showgrounds, 7.45pm.

The Crues lost out to Linfield on a dreaded penalty shoot-out in the County Antrim Shield final on Tuesday night, but Baxter believes there is no looking back.

“It’s what we do against Coleraine that matters most,” he said. “Yes, we were gutted to lose the Shield in that manner.

“It was the second time in in recent weeks that we have lost a final on penalties . . . .we also had no joy in the League Cup against Cliftonville.

“But we won the Setanta Cup a few years back on a shootout and thought it was the best thing from sliced bread. It’s a lottery, there is no doubt that. I was really pleased with our performance over the 110 minutes against the Blues - we matched them all over the park.

“Taking into consideration that we had a number of players missing due to injury and Richard Clarke was cup-tied, the boys did tremendously well.

“We had some great performances. I was particularly pleased with young Mattie King who produced a great display at right back.”

With a long trip to Sligo Rovers looming on Monday night for a Setanta Cup second leg, Crusaders requested the Coleraine game be brought forward to tonight.

“It is good to get an extra days rest and the lads are looking forward to the match, but this comes first.”