Irish Premiership: Baxter bullish for Blues showdown

Linfield midfielder Jamie Mulgrew battles with Crues forward Jamie McGonigle for the ball
Linfield and Crusaders played out a 1-1 when they last met at Windsor Park in December
Danske Bank Premiership: Linfield v Crusaders
Venue: Windsor Park, Belfast Date: Friday, 21 February Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Coverage: Watch on BBC Two NI and the BBC Sport website & app.

Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter says his team will go to Linfield "all guns blazing" for Friday's title tussle.

The Crues are aiming to bounce back from last weekend's League Cup final defeat by Coleraine and they trail the Blues by eight points.

"The boys are disappointed after the final but they will be right at it again, I'm sure of that," said Baxter.

"Linfield have the momentum and they are a fabulous team but we've done well there before and it holds no fear."

The Crues also lost their last league game, a 2-1 defeat at Glenavon, but Baxter believes the north Belfast side are still firmly in the title mix with 10 games left.

"We've put ourselves in a position to challenge - we're just a little bit off it maybe, but if we put a run together and get a little bit of momentum then we'll be in there challenging," he added.

Stern test

"It's going to be a a tough game and they are league champions but we will go to Windsor Park all guns blazing."

Linfield have won their last three Premiership matches to open up a six-point advantage at the top and a victory over the Crues would put them firmly on course to retain the Gibson Cup.

"We've had numerous battles with Crusaders over the last number of years," said Blues manager David Healy.

"Crusaders are in there fighting like we are for the top spot, so we expect a tough game, we always do."

Top Stories

Also in NI Sport