Challenge Cup: Crusaders boss Baxter backs young players for Livingston tie

Billy Joe Burns and Scott Pittman in action during the original game at Seaview on 7 October
Billy Joe Burns and Scott Pittman in action during the original game at Seaview on 7 October

Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter will again put his faith in the club's young players for Tuesday's Challenge Cup replay against Livingston at Seaview.

A youthful Crues team beat Glentoran in the County Antrim Shield last week.

"We have a lot of big matches coming up in the next few weeks and must make sure we look after all our senior players," said Baxter.

The match is being re-played after Livingston fielded an ineligible player in their 2-1 win in the original tie.

Alan Lithgow was suspended for the original fixture on 7 October and the West Lothian club were fined £4,000, in addition to being ordered to re-play the game.

Alan Lithgow was banned when he played against Irish League side Crusaders in Belfast
Alan Lithgow was banned when he played against Irish League side Crusaders in Belfast

The defender started the game in Belfast and played the full 90 minutes in the fourth-round tie.

Livingston pleaded guilty to a breach of the SPFL regulations.

Livingston were drawn at home against Welsh side The New Saints in the quarter-finals on 13 November following their narrow win over the Irish League champions.

"We can't afford to lose key players as we did in the last fixture. Our young players are all very talented and ready to grasp a big opportunity.

"We will mix in a few of our first team players who didn't play against Linfield and go out with the aim of winning the game," added Baxter.

Livingston head the League One table by two points after 11 games following their 3-0 triumph over nearest challengers Brechin City at the weekend.

Crusaders are five points clear at the top of the Premiership after a 0-0 draw with Linfield on Saturday.

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