Match Preview

Battle expected

COLERAINE midfielder Josh Carson is expecting a response from Crusaders tonight as the two teams face each other at The Showgrounds…

The Crues arrive on the Ballycastle Road after a 4-1 defeat to Larne last Friday night and Carson knows Stephen Baxter will be looking for his troops to return to winning ways.

However, the former Northern Ireland international remarked that a vocal home support can help spur the Bannsiders on as they aim to make it four successive wins in all competitions.

“Crusaders were beat 4-1 on Friday but it’s always a tough game against them,” he said.

“We never get it easy against them, even at The Showgrounds.

“We know what we’re up against and it’ll be a battle from the first minute to the last, the same as Saturday against Carrick Rangers.

“It’s all about rest and recover, plenty of food and fluids and go again.

“Our supporters are our twelfth man, always have been and always will be.

“The support is never in doubt and we’re forever grateful for their backing home and away and long may it continue.”

The Bannsiders secured a 1-0 win against Carrick Rangers last weekend as Carson bagged his first goal of the season.

“I was just fortunate, it bounced right, it just came across my body and I just tried to hit the target,” he explained.

“I had a few shots in the game and they hit the stand so I’m probably overdue one and thank goodness it hit the net today.

“To be fair, in the first half they looked hungrier, they had the bite.

“Emmett’s a handful up front and they had runners off him, they seemed to be hungrier than us and that’s not like us.

“We came out of the traps a bit sluggish but we held in there and Deansey’s made a couple of great saves.

“We stuck in there and Oran told us at half-time to just stick in there and keep going and see where it gets us, see if it gets us a goal happy days but don’t concede and we’ll win the game.

“Thankfully that was the case.”

The Stripes had to dig deep to earn those three points in Carrickfergus and Carson stressed that digging a game out is just as good as winning a fixture comfortably.

“The victory was as good as winning 4-0 last week because it shows character, it shows grit and it shows determination,” he continued.

“You just have to look round our team and we have that anyway but it was even more so today because you seen there was six bookings in the first half.

“It was a case of trying to get first to the ball, commit fouls, slow the game down because they had a bit of momentum.

“Thankfully we got the goal and got ourselves over the line and got the three points.

“Teams come here and struggle – Crues were beat here, Linfield were beat here, Larne only beat them them 1-0 so it’s a difficult place to come and pick up three points but thankfully we’ve done it twice.”