Cork City aiming to close the gap on leaders Dundalk

John Caulfield says victory over Bohemians essential to maintain pressure on champions

Cork City manager John Caulfield: “It is our biggest game of the season and we have to go out and win the match.” Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Cork City manager John Caulfield: “It is our biggest game of the season and we have to go out and win the match.” Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

 

Whether Dundalk’s slip up in Bray has made the John Caulfield and Co feel better or worse about their defeat by Sligo the other night is a moot point.

But they are back in a position to go level on points with the leaders by winning their games in hand and on paper this evening’s clash with Bohemians looks like a decent opportunity to get half the job done.

The Dublin club will have been relieved to get back to winning ways themselves against Finn Harps last weekend but this should be an entirely different proposition with City acutely aware that failing to deliver at home is not something they will get away with too often as Keith Long acknowledges.

“They would have seen Monday’s game as a chance to make ground up on Dundalk, ” he says, “and they’ll be looking at Friday night the same way. It’s not a good time to be playing them but it’s never easy against Cork anyway.”

Caulfield reckons that his side created enough chances against Sligo to in a string of games and the emphasis this time will be on capitalising on whatever they create.

“The league is there to be won; it’s a cliché,” he says, but you have to approach every game the right way or it will cost you. It is our biggest game of the season and we have to go out and win the match.”

Alan Bennett is a doubt for the home side and faces a late fitness test while Dylan Hayes and Stephen Best are in danger of missing out for the visitors.

Dan Byrne and Keith Buckley return from suspension while new signing Dean O’Halloran looks likely to make the bench as Bohs boss Long looks to add new attacking options to his squad.

On their last visit to Richmond Park, Galway United served early notice on the St Patrick’s faithful that this was not going to be a dream season by winning 3-1.

St Pat’s subsequently evened things up in the west but this is an important game for both sides as they strive to stay in contention for the last of the league’s European spots.

David Cawley and Sam Verdon miss out for the hosts with Keith Treacy to have a hamstring problem assessed today while Jesse Devers and Padraic Cunningham are out for United.

Shamrock Rovers head to Sligo in the hope of preserving their lead over the chasing pack and have Rob Cornwall available again but Killian Brennan is a doubt as they prepare to face a side that is unbeaten in six and fresh from the surprise (to their hosts anyway) success at Turner’s Cross.

Derry head to Finn Harps in search of revenge for that opening night defeat and a first win over their neighbours this season while Ryan Curran, their former player, will be looking for score against his old club for the third successive game.

At the foot of the table, meanwhile, it looks like do-or-die for Longford Town who head to Wexford in the hope of winning for the first time since they beat their hosts tonight way back in March.

If they do, and there have certainly been signs in recent weeks that the players have not thrown in the towel, they might well yet drag themselves off the foot of the table but a win for Youths, who were well beaten by Sligo last week, and the visitors will surely be relegation-bound.

Fixtures (7.45 unless stated)

Premier Division

Cork City v Bohemians

Home: 2/5, Draw: 16/5, Away: 7/1.

St Patrick’s Athletic v Galway United

Home: 11/10, Draw: 23/10, Away: 12/5.

Sligo Rovers v Shamrock Rovers

Home: 13/10, Draw: 23/10, Away: 2/1.

Finn Harps v Derry City

Home: 7/2, Draw: 23/10, Away: 2/1.

Wexford Youths v Longford Town

Home: 11/10, Draw: 23/10, Away: 4/5.

First Division

UCD v Drogheda United

Home: Evens, Draw: 23/10, Away: 9/4.

Waterford United v Shelbourne

Home: 5/4, Draw: 11/5, Away: 15/8.

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