Ex-Derry City man Mark McChrystal enjoying his football at Crusaders

FORMER Derry City player Mark McChrystal believes he's beginning to '˜find his feet' in the Irish League after making the move to Crusaders.

Wednesday, 10th January 2018, 11:30 am
Updated Wednesday, 10th January 2018, 12:44 pm
Former Derry City player Mark McChrystal in action for Danske Bank Premiership Crusaders against Maiden City

Following a frustrating start to his career at Seaview which was disrupted due to injury, it’s no coincidence the big centre half has found a bit of consistency just as Crusaders’ title tilt has gathered momentum.

Since making his debut against Cliftonville last August following his move from League One outfit, Bristol Rovers, the Derry man has made 12 league starts.

He has started the last seven fixtures in the Dankse Bank Premiership as Crusaders maintained a 100 per cent record with wins over Glentoran, Warrenpoint Town, Glenavon, Ballymena United, Cliftonville, Linfield and Ballinamallard.

Mark McChrystal celebrates scoring for Derry City

His experience at the back will be crucial as the Crues battle on five fronts this season.

The Shore Road men currently hold a slender one point advantage over Coleraine at the top and progressed to the Irish Cup sixth round following victory over Maiden City on Saturday.

McChrystal is determined to win as much silverware as he can this season and insists he’s enjoying his football once again.

“At the end of the day, it’s the Irish Cup and we want to get to the final so you give every one the respect they deserve and go out and try and win the game.

Mark McChrystal celebrates scoring for Derry City

“We’re going through a good spell and got ourselves top over the festive period but you don’t win anything in January so we have to keep going.

“There’s a lot of depth in the squad and we’re in five competitions so we’re going to need that through injuries and suspensions.

“We’ve come through a spell where we had a few injuries so hopefully we can push on from here, finish the season strongly and win as many trophies as we can.

“I’ve found my feet here now. My fitness levels are where I want them to be and I’m playing week in, week out which is what you want. I’m enjoying my football and long may it continue.”

Saturday’s fixture against Intermediate League opposition could’ve proved a potential banana skin tie but McChrystal was rarely troubled throughout the 90 minutes.

The ex Candy Stripe was, however, impressed with how Maiden City approached the match. “When the first goal went in I thought it might be a nice easy afternoon for us but they made it difficult and to be fair to them they played alright and you have to give them credit.

“They played some good football at times. In terms of a goal threat I don’t think they caused us too many problems but they had a few good passages of play and they kept the ball well which you would expect from a Maiden City team”

“I felt they played well in certain areas of the pitch.”

The Derry man can look forward to a sixth round trip to Solitude to face Cliftonville and he’s looking forward to it.

“It didn’t matter who we got because you have to beat everyone to get your hands on the trophy. We would’ve preferred a home tie but we’ll take them on and try and win the game.”