Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter insists there is no complacency at Seaview

Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter
Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter

Stephen Baxter insists there will be no margin for error when he takes his impressive Crusaders side to Stangmore Park on Saturday to face improving Dungannon Swifts.

Both camps go into the clash in the best possible state.

The high flying Belfast boys have roared six points clear at the top of the Danske Premiership table, while battling Swifts have managed to nudge away from the relegation mire after winning their last two games -- at Coleraine and Institute.

“The incentive is to fight and fight to get to the top of the table,” said Baxter.

“When you achieve that, there are then other teams battling to knock you off.

“You can’t afford to take a breather. You can’t afford to lose a mental edge. Basically, you look after you own camp and look after the match in front of you.

“You don’t get too carried away about what is going on elsewhere. All I’m interested in is looking after ourselves.

“This team really looks after itself. I have to give one or two little directions here and there, but there are people in our dressing room starting step up to the plate.

“You can sense the strength of character coming through in one or two of them. Dungannon will be another big test. They have hit a bit of form of late, so it’s another challenge we’ll have to meet.

“We basically prepare for a big game, and move on to the next. We may be 12 points ahead of Cliftonville, but we might need to be 15 ahead of them before they are finished.

“They are still in it, make no mistake about that. Glentoran are still in it. There are still a lot of points to be played for.”

Baxter again faces a selection dilemma. He had Diarmuid O’Carroll, Nathan Hanley and Stephen O’Flynn all on the bench in last week’s 6-0 drubbing of Portadown.

“It’s a nice problem to have,” he added.

“For me, Richard Clarke his been the most consistent player in our last eight games.

“He has been awesome. He has shown what a great talent he is. Richard has bags of ability and a great touch on the ball.”

Swifts manager Darren Murphy admits the last two victories have been a massive boost.

“We’ve six points from our last two games, so we go into the Crusaders game with plenty of confidence,” he said.

“Winning at Coleraine and Institute in the space of a few days were massive results.

“I felt Institute were exceptional in the second half, were we hanging on at times.

“The result has helped put a bit of daylight between ourselves and the teams below us.

“I’ve said from day one that it is crucial to beat the teams in and around you in this league. They are the must-win matches.

“Crusaders don’t mind coming to Stangmore Park, even though their results haven’t been all that positive. They have the habit of scoring late goals.

“On their last visit, we were leading 2-0, but they struck twice late on to grab a draw.

“It will be another big test, but one we are looking forward to.”