Stephen Baxter sure Cruesaders will not be concerned about venue

Stephen Baxter
Stephen Baxter

Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter believes home advantage will count for nothing in Saturday’s tantalising Wasp Solutions League Cup final against Cliftonville at Solitude (5.30pm).

The Crues must make the short journey for this North Belfast showdown after losing out for the right to play at home on the toss of a coin.

Baxter, however, doesn’t buy into the fact that it gives the Reds the upper hand, especially with a sell-out partisan crowd behind them. The game will be beamed out live by Sky Sports that will give it an extra buzz.

“It doesn’t really matter,” shrugs Baxter. “I applaud the initiative of both clubs opting to toss a coin for the right to play at home. There will be a great atmosphere, with the place packed out.

“Of course, it will be financially beneficial to both clubs, but I leave that to the boys in the boardroom. They look after the cash side of it. Hopefully, they will send some in my direction to strengthen the squad. Seriously, I prefer to look after what goes on on the pitch.

“We have a great opportunity to showcase the local game in front of the television cameras. There will be a bumper crowd, there will be a lot of colour . . . there will be a lot of noise. It should be sensational.

“Let’s hope we get a really good game of football with plenty of goals, providing their are red and black goals.”

Baxter received a pre-cup final boost with the news the influential midfielder Chris Morrow will be fit to be included his his squad.

“We had a worry over Chris,who sustained a foot injury on New Year’s Day at Portadown,” he added. “It required a couple of x-rays, but he was at the clinic earlier this week and he received a the all clear.

“So the news is good. He will be fit and ready to go on Saturday. “These are the glamour fixtures that every footballer loves to play in -- that’s why we are in this game.

“It’s a dream for the guys who will walk out on to the pitch.”