Baxter accepts he needs favour from Reds

Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter is hoping for a Cliftonville win this weekend.
Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter is hoping for a Cliftonville win this weekend.

Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter admits his side need Cliftonville to do them a favour in the Danske Bank Premiership.

The Reds face league leaders Linfield at Solitude tomorrow - while the Crues entertain Glenavon at Seaview.

And Baxter knows that if his side are to overtake Linfield to win the title - the Reds have to beat David Healy’s side.

“It is not for me to comment on another club, but we need a favour from another team for us to be successful and I know Cliftonville’s pride and honour will make them put on a big performance for their fans on the last day of the season.

“Because they would probable like to stop Linfield winning the title - I would have thought because of the rivalry there.

“But whatever happens we will fight to the death until it is all over.”

And Baxter admits that all his side can do is beat Glenavon and then wait and see what happens.

“You have no control over anything and that is why we love this game.

“And that is why we do what we do. And it is great to see the fans turning out in big numbers throughout the year has been a big highlight for me.

“It is great to see grounds filling up again and there is a passion about the local game.”

And the Crusaders chief says that even though Linfield and Crusaders are well ahead of the chasing pack - the league is getting more competitive,

“At the end of the day you compete with all your might and then when it is all done and dusted you shake hands and that is how I feel about it.

“We will see how it works out but there has been another double salvo from Linfield and Crusaders this year who are fighting tooth and nail for the title.

“Consistency is the thing we are all looking for because that wins league titles.

“It is wonderful that we have got teams like Ballymena, Coleraine, Glenavon and Cliftonville.

“We want to see these teams competing and competing against Linfield and ourseleves.

“It makes the league very interesting. We had the Linfield domination, we had Cliftonville’s success and Crusaders success.

“So it will be interesting to see if Ballymena can rise from the ashes or a Coleraine can mount a challenge.

“That is the aim for these teams - can they sustain a challenge?”

And Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton is looking for a big finish to the season - before the play-offs start.

“Our goal is the same as last weekend against Cliftonville in terms of producing a professional display, giving players minutes and hoping to avoid injury problems.

“The big test for us comes with the play-offs and we have to be smart so, once again,

“I will be resting Ciaran Martyn, Mark Sykes and David Elebert due to the risk of suspension - but we want to end our league campaign on a high and then see what happens,” he added.