Stephen Baxter hails double signings as Crusaders complete early business

Striker Diarmuid O'Carroll
Striker Diarmuid O'Carroll

Manager Stephen Baxter believes Diarmuid O’Carroll and Billy Joe Burns will bolster Crusaders’ silverware ambitions next season.

Striker O’Carroll has signed a two-year pre-contract after leaving Cliftonville, while Linfield defender Billy Joe Burns has agreed a two-year deal.

It is the first transfer activity of the summer for Crusaders, who finished third in the Danske Bank Premiership last season.

And Baxter believes the double capture is a “great piece of business” for the Seaview club.

“I am absolutely delighted to get both players on board for next season,” Baxter said.

“The two lads are very experienced and strengthen us in key areas.

“Diarmuid has a great pedigree and is a very good player. He was at Celtic for a number of years and brings a lot to the table.

“Billy Joe is a dynamic, athletic defender who can play at right-back or centre-half.

“He is versatile which is always a bonus, and he played almost every game last season for Linfield so that proves how consistent he was.

“So I am over the moon to make these two signings. They definitely improve our squad for next season.”

O’Carroll tweeted yesterday: “I leave Solitude with a wealth of amazing memories. Now I’m looking to the future and a new exciting challenge.”

Meanwhile, midfielder Aidan Watson, striker Andy Smith and goalkeeper Johann Lacroix are all leaving Crusaders.

Wingers David McAllister and Eamonn McAllister are also considering their options at Seaview.