Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter ‘getting bored’ of Seaview criticism

HITTING OUT: Stephen Baxter
HITTING OUT: Stephen Baxter

Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter will not get caught up in any mind games ahead of Saturday’s Irish Cup sixth round tie against Glenavon at Seaview.

Lurgan Blues boss Gary Hamilton made it known earlier in the week that he would not be involved because of the Shore Road club’s plastic surface, with Kris Lindsay, Ciaran Martin and Eddie McCallion also missing out.

Baxter doesn’t buy into the suggestion, stating: “It’s a load of rubbish. This is the premier knockout trophy and it should be given every respect.

“To wave the white flag because of the surface is being discourteous to the tournament.

“I’ve now heard it too many times – it’s becoming boring. I would expect there is a bit of kidology going on.”

Baxter admits he is expecting a “tough afternoon” regardless of Hamilton’s promise.

“We have appeared in three of the last four finals,” he added.

“It’s the pinnacle of every footballer’s career – it’s a great day.

“It’s also a wonderful trophy. We are looking forward to the game, it can’t come soon enough.”

Crusaders will be without the suspended Paul Leeman and injured Gary McCutcheon.

“Unfortunately, our midweek game was cancelled, which meant that Paul’s ban is still in force,” added Baxter.

“Unfortunately, Gary’s hamstring problems is proving a little difficult to heal.

“He did a bit of light training this week, but it will be another week or so before he is ready to be tested in a match situation.”