Football/Soccer

Billy Joe Burns hails Crusaders' progress as they host Institute

Carl Toner

Crusaders v Institute:

Saturday 2nd November, 3pm, Seaview.

Crusaders host Institute at Seaview (today) at 3pm, as the Shore Road side hope to remain in contention at the top of the table.

The last time the two sides met, Crusaders delivered a 6-0 hammering to Institute at The Brandywell Stadium, with Paul Heatley grabbing a brace and Paul McElroy scoring on his debut.

Institute have not won against Crusaders in almost ten years, with their last win coming in late November 2009.

Both sides booked their place in the Bet McLean League Cup semi-final this week, as Joe McCready’s goal for Institute was enough for a 1-0 win over Newry City.

Meanwhile, it took 119 minutes for Stephen Baxter’s Crusaders to find the winner against Ballymena on Tuesday night, when Jarlath O’Rourke squeezed the ball home for Crusaders’ winning goal.

One of the Irish League’s most decorated footballers, Billy Joe Burns believes that it is Crusaders’ mentality and fitness that drives them on.

“Over the years it’s something we’ve done; we dig deep to get results.

“Especially against Glenavon, we rescued a point, although we didn’t play well, we took something from that game when we mightn’t have deserved to."

Burns is looking forward to another game on Saturday, as the Hatchet Men are in the midst of a heavy schedule.

“This is the busy part of the season, we have games Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday with training in between…

“It’s a lot of football for a part time league but were used to it.” said the Crues’ right-back.

Following Tuesday night’s win, Burns commented on his delight with Stephen Baxter’s summer-signings, as Jamie McGonigle’s stunning opener and Jarlath O’Rourke’s winner saw Crusaders win the quarter-final.

“That’s what Stephen does, he adds to the strength we have and recruit’s talent.

“With Jamie McGonigle, we knew that we were getting a quality player and a goal scorer, it naturally takes time to settle in but with that goal on Tuesday night, he showed how good he is.

“Jarlath O’Rourke was another signing who’s came in and done well.

“He had a great game against wolves but has been a bit unfortunate with injuries since then.

“It’s great to see them both scoring!”

Crusaders sit just two points off the league leaders Coleraine, with Burns adding that “consistency” is the key factor in winning titles.

“I keep saying it, over and over, consistency is key.”

“If you can perform week after week and get results, you will do well.”

“I keep mentioning it, but it’s one of the most important factors in football.”

Burns also hailed the progress that Crusaders have made under Baxter, and gave credit to the young players coming through their youth system.

“When there’s players coming through and getting to the first team, if they train and play well then they will go far.”

“Stuart Dallas was probably the first to push on and get a career in England, but him and Gavin Whyte have really set the standard.

 Billy Joe Burns sang the praises of his former teammate, Gavin Whyte.

“They’ve set the bar high for young players and for the club to push on,

“The clubs heading in the right direction, there’s no doubt about that.” added the six-time Irish League winner.

 

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