Stephen Baxter believes Crusaders are ‘on the right track’

Former Derry City captain Barry Molloy has signed for Crusaders
Former Derry City captain Barry Molloy has signed for Crusaders

Stephen Baxter believes Crusaders’ recruitment success proves his club is heading in the right direction.

The Crues bolstered their ranks this week with the signings of striker Stephen O’Flynn and midfielder Barry Molloy.

O’Flynn has signed an 18-month contract after arriving from Institute, while former Derry City captain Molloy has agreed a two-and-a-half-year deal.

“Hopefully it proves that Crusaders is an attractive club for players,” Baxter said.

“We have worked very hard to lay the foundations at this club, and we are moving in the right direction.

“A lot of hard work has gone on in the background, and we have enjoyed some success on the pitch. It is a massive club effort and people want to buy into that.

“We have signed players of the calibre of Richard Clarke, Diarmuid O’Carroll and Billy Joe Burns in recent times, and we have signed two very good players in O’Flynn and Molloy. That is very positive for Crusaders.”

The double swoop is a significant statement of intent as the Crues target a first Premiership title success since 1997.

Baxter refuses to dive into any rash predictions, but believes Crusaders have got to aim high as they plot their assault this season.

“You have to give yourself the chance to challenge, and we believe we have done that by adding two more quality players to our squad,” he added.

“Europe is obviously a big target for us. There are financial gains in qualifying for that.”

The Crues take on Dungannon Swifts on Friday night at Seaview, hoping to improve on a poor record against the Stangmore Park men at their home ground.

The Crues have won just two of their last 11 league games against the Swifts on the Shore Road.

“Dungannon is always a tough test and I would expect nothing different on Friday night,” Baxter added.