Former NI forward Andy Smith joins Crusaders

Crusaders have signed former Northern Ireland striker Andy Smith until the end of the season.

The 33-year-old, who most recently played in Belgium, had been training with Glentoran but the Oval club have opted to sign Curtis Allen.

Smith started his career with Sheffield United and he joined Preston North End in 2004 after a successful spell with the Glens.

The forward won 18 international caps between 2003 and 2005.

Smith last played in the Irish League for Ballymena United, and he joined Belgian side Union Royale Namur after being released by the Sky Blues in 2011.

He signed for Carrick Rangers in August 2012, but left a day later after requests from French and Belgian clubs to go on trial.

"Stephen Baxter (Crusaders manager) made it clear that he wanted me and they're a club who are always challenging for trophies," said Smith.

"There are a lot of good strikers at Crusaders so my first challenge is to get in the team and then hopefully my performances will repay the faith the manager has put in me."

Crusaders lie just six points behind Premiership leaders Linfield and Smith's arrival boosts the attacking options for manager Stephen Baxter for the title run-in.