Irish Premiership champions Crusaders have signed former Linfield and Derry City midfielder Philip Lowry and Coleraine defender Howard Beverland.

Stephen Baxter has bagged the duo to add to fellow summer arrivals David Cushley (Ballymena United) and Michael Gault (Portadown) as he builds a strong squad to defend their crown.

Howard Beverland has spent his entire career at the Bannsiders - proving a constant fixture in defence for eight seasons and is widely acknowledged as one of the league's finest defenders.

26-year-old Lowry, who's brother Stephen plays for Linfield, moved to work in London after leaving Derry but signed a short-term deal with Portadown earlier this year.

Lowry and Gault are two high-profile exits from the crisis-stricken Ports, who will also lose defender Chris Ramsey to Cliftonville while Ross Redman has also handed in a transfer request - which has alerted both the Reds and Linfield. More departures are expected, while they cannot sign any players on professional contracts for the next twelve months as punishment for undisclosed payments.