Crusaders have three players suspended for Cliftonville game

Paul Heatley
Paul Heatley was sent-off at Windsor Park

Crusaders will have three players suspended for Saturday's crucial Irish Premiership game against league leaders and north Belfast derby rivals Cliftonville at Seaview.

Midfielders Paul Heatley and Declan Caddell begin two-game bans, while Gareth McKeown is out for one match.

Heatley was sent-off in the recent League Cup Final between the sides, which Cliftonville won 4-0.

The Reds lead the Crues, who have a game in hand, by 12 points at the top.

However, Stephen Baxter's second-placed side have yet to lose a home fixture this season.

A win for Tommy Breslin's side would see them move a significant step closer to securing the Gibson Cup, while Crusaders need a win to stay in touch and retain realistic hopes of triumphing in the league.

Cliftonville won 1-0 when the sides last met in the Premiership on Boxing Day, avenging a 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Crues at Seaview in October.

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