Paul Heatley determined to help Crusaders claim silverware glory

UP FOR IT: Crusaders winger Paul Heatley
UP FOR IT: Crusaders winger Paul Heatley

Crusaders star Paul Heatley is determined to help Crusaders boost their trophy haul this season – so fans don’t think he’s a jinx!

During his time with Carrick Rangers Heatley lifted the Championship 1 and Intermediate Cup titles.

Now he is hoping to inspire Crusaders to silverware glory following last season’s impressive double.

Stephen Baxter’s men claimed the IRN-BRU League Cup last January before lifting the all-Ireland Setanta Sports Cup in May.

Supporters of the Shore Road outfit have become accustomed to success in recent years, and they could be soaking in more champagne this weekend when they try to defend their League Cup crown against Cliftonville.

First up is a crunch Irish Cup fifth round replay with Linfield at Seaview.

“I came to Crusaders in the summer with the aim of competing at the top end of the league and challenging for silverware,” Heatley said.

“I wasn’t here last season when the club won the League Cup and Setanta Cups.

“I did win the league and Intermediate Cup when I was with Carrick Rangers in the Championship, but I have yet to win a senior medal.

“That is a big motivating factor and incentive for me. I want to help the club win trophies. I don’t want people to think I’m a jinx!

“The club achieved so much last season and I want to help us emulate that this season.”

Crusaders and Linfield fought out a thrilling 2-2 draw when the two sides met at Windsor Park 10 days ago.

The Crues came from 2-1 down to claim a spirited draw against the Blues – who had Johnny Black sent off in the first half.

Supporters will be hoping for more of the same at Seaview, with Glenavon waiting for the winners in the next round.

“It was a strange game at Windsor and we probably felt a bit frustrated we didn’t win the game,” added Heatley, who hopes to shake off a slight knock to feature this evening.

“We had chances to win the first tie, especially when Linfield were down to 10 men, but it wasn’t to be.

“This game is a chance for us to finish the job off and reach the next round. It will be tough because Linfield are on a good run of form, but then so are we.

“We have some massive games coming up. Every week and every game now seems to bring a different test in a different competition.”

Meanwhile, also on Tuesday Larne are due to meet Lurgan Celtic in their fifth round replay (7.45pm).

The Inver Reds escaped with a 1-1 draw last time out thanks to Gary Workman’s late equaliser.

Larne boss Graham McConnell – who is hoping his side progress to meet Knockbreda in the next round – said: “It is important we have home advantage for this game, but at the end of the day we have to make it count if we want to make it into the last 16.”

Elsewhere, Tobermore United and Kilmore Rec will do it again (2pm) after their 2-2 draw 10 days ago – the winners will meet Institute in the next round.

Tobermore boss Jim Scott said: “It was disappointing to throw away a 2-0 lead in the first game, but we have the chance to put things right on Tuesday.”