Crusaders' Stephen Baxter has been named August 2023's Manager of the Month
Jim Magilton is ready for his first north Belfast derby as Cliftonville manager
Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter has admitted he’ll put his friendship with Jim Magilton on hold in Monday night’s big derby clash with Cliftonville.
Seaview will be no place for the faint-hearted when both sides strive to earn the bragging rights in the first north Belfast showdown of the Sports Direct Premiership campaign.
Following on from their European campaign when they took Norwegian giants Rosenborg to extra-time in the second qualifying round of the Europa Conference League, Crusaders have laid down an early marker in terms of a title challenge.
With Baxter’s old pal Magilton now in charge at Cliftonville, he intends to put their friendship on hold
“They don’t come much bigger,” he says. “When we play Linfield or Glentoran at Seaview there are always huge crowds, but the Cliftonville game has got the special ring to it.
“It’s a north Belfast derby, it’s a game that we are always very excited to play. For me, it’s our biggest game of the season.
“There is a great rivalry between the clubs, albeit off the pitch it’s a very friendly environment between us. This is a real derby. It’s also Jim’s first as manager of Cliftonville. I’ve known him a lifetime, he’s a really top guy.
“He is a year or two younger than me, but I grew up with him. We were in the Northern Ireland youth system together when we were around 17 or 18 years of age so we’ve known each other a long time and now we are going head-to-head in opposing dug-outs.
“Jim’s a very astute manager and he’s signed some very good players, so it will be special for him as well — a first derby game in the hotseat.Read on belfasttelegraph.co.uk