Striker Jordan Owens insists the prospect of becoming Crusaders’ all-time top goal scorer will not derail his title ambitions.
The 26-year-old is only one goal away from equalling Glenn Hunter’s record of 157, but it’s points that Owens craves when the Crues make the trip to Stangmore Park to face Dungannon Swifts on Saturday.
Their win over Ballymena last weekend torpedoed Stephen Baxter’s boys six points clear at the top.
But Owens states it means little at this time of the season.
“The big games are all coming thick and fast at this time of the season, starting with Dungannon,” he said. “The weather is bad and the pitches are starting to cut up. We may not be able to play football as well as we can.
“I’m not paying too much attention to the record. I’m now on 156, so I need one more goal to equal the record and two to beat it. Yes, it will be a big achievement when it happens, but the most important thing for me is keeping our place at the top of the table.
“My focus is getting points on the board for the team – the record stuff will look after itself. We will need grind out a result at Dungannon – it’s always the same down there.”
Owens believes he is not the only goal threat in this Crusaders machine
He added: “Goals can come from anywhere on the pitch from this team. We’ve a great squad. If anyone is out injured or suspended, there are boys to come in with equal ability. We are also defensively strong. We conceded two against Ballymena scored last week were the first we had conceded at home since the opening day of the season. Points are the name of the game at this time of the year.”
Manager Stephen Baxter also declared that his boys will not become carried away.
“I’ve said all along, we want to try to be in the mix around Christmas time,” he said. “We have Cliftonville at home on Boxing Day and Linfield away on New Year’s Day. I would like to assess where we are at on the back of those games.
“From our point of view, it’s heads down and work hard. It’s been good. we are un beaten over the month of November. We have to be pleased with that. But our focus is now on two tough away games – Dungannon and Carrick.
“Dungannon had a big win last week, they are a good side and well managed. They know there way around the pitch. It’s always tough for us down there.
“It’s not a particular place I like going to, so we’ll have to roll our our sleeves and get a job done.”