IRISH LEAGUE: Transfer target Whyte back in the team and back on Crues scoresheet

Gavin Whyte celebrates finding the net for Crusaders against Ballymena United. Pic by Pacemaker.
Gavin Whyte celebrates finding the net for Crusaders against Ballymena United. Pic by Pacemaker.
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Gavin Whyte returned from injury and returned to the Crusaders scoresheet on Saturday with his 10th goal of the campaign.

The 21-year-old recovered from hamstring trouble to help title-chasing Crusaders take another step towards a third successive Danske Bank Premiership crown.

Whyte broke the deadlock in a 2-1 defeat of Ballymena United and his manager, Stephen Baxter, is confident continued performances will only enhance his profile.

The bright prospect was a January transfer target for Dundee United and Baxter remains convinced Whyte can only enhance his options over the rest of the season.

“From our point of view it was good to have Gavin Whyte back and he showed once again what a really great player he is,” said Baxter. “He hasn’t featured for a couple of weeks because of a wee hamstring tweak and he has not been unsettled by the transfer talk in the papers.

“We kept him informed about what was happening and, at the end of the day, he loves it here, enjoys the camaraderie and wants to try to win a third league title in a row.

“That’s the type of people you want to have around you.

“Also, if he keeps on performing like that there will not be one club looking at him between now and the end of the season, it will be nine or 10.”

Whyte maintains his focus remains on short-term goals with Crusaders.

“In my first season there was a load of transfer talk and I found it difficult to get my head around it, so I learned a lesson there,” said Whyte. “I’m happy playing here, letting the club deal with things and seeing what happens.

“I know Stephen was keen to keep me here because he wants to win the league again but so do we all and I’m quite happy with that.”