107 days from the last day of the 2018/19 Danske Bank Premiership season and it all starts again for the 2019/20 season when Crusaders kick off against Carrick Rangers at Seaview this Saturday (3pm). The team have had a good pre season with some good wins against local opposition and not forgetting the two Europa League Qualifying wins plus the two games against Wolves in the second qualifying round. Carrick Rangers have come back up from the Champiuonship and will be looking to show they can mix it with the big boys so an interesting game is in prospect.
Crusaders training this week has been good and the final tweaks to the game plan where ironed out at Thursday nights training. The signing of Jamie McGonigle has kept the local reporters busy but he misses out on the first game due to suspension so the debut must wait. Chris Hegarty also misses out through suspension but everyone else is available. Sean O'Neill should start in nets after impresssing in Europe while Colin Coates could return to competitive action if picked alongside Howard Beverland. Billy Joe Burns should start at left back while Jarlath O'Rourke and Michael Ruddy battle it out for right back. Midfield again will be a hard pick with so many playing well in thier positions in the the middle of the park so we wait too see who does get the nod. Up front Jordan Owens will lead the line. Stephen Baxter will be keen to get a good start and will have the lads well versed on what they have to do come 3pm.
Carrick Rangers return to the Premiership and Niall Currie will want to hit the ground running. They will be under no illusions as to want they need to do and will want to show they are in the top league to stay and Crusaders will be prepared for that. They have strengthened with William Faulkner, Kyle Cherry and James Ferrin and several others have signed new contracts so all the work has been done off the pitch and on the pitch starts come the whistle on Saturday. Niall Currie has managed in the top flight before and knows what it takes to win and he will give that knowledge to his players.
So all ready for the new season and we look forward to seeing you. The new admission prices are £12 & £8 for NIFL Premiership games this season and cash gates are in operation. Let's get down to Seaview and get behind Crusaders from the start of the opening game. Join the journey once again home and away and follow Crusaders up and down the country. Keep The Faith.