Cork City return to league action tonight, with the visit of far away rivals Derry City to Turner’s Cross (kick off 7:45).
Wedged in between European legs, City tonight will be hoping to get back to winning ways with the champions without a win in four competitive games following last week’s 3-0 loss against Legia Warsaw in the UEFA Champions League.
Having not won a game since last June’s 1-0 injury time win over Bohemians at the Cross, the Rebel Army trail Dundalk four points in the race for top spot, but for John Caulfield all that matters is three points on the board and nothing else.
“The Legia game is gone, but the reason we got there is because we won the league last year,” he told the club’s website.
“We are in a great position to challenge for the title again this year, but we have to bounce back and put points on the board.
“We can’t afford not to win matches because, if we drift away, then there won’t be a challenge for the title. Three points tomorrow night, for me, would put us back on track.”
Despite his side’s earlier 4-2 win against Derry back in June, Caulfield was taking nothing for granted with the visit tonight.
“They have brought a number of new players in and refreshed their squad; we could see, the other night, they had a fantastic away win in Europe.
“At the same time, our lads know what they have to do, which is to get back to putting points on the board.
“We are league champions and our priority is to see if we can retain our title, and we need to try and start that with a win tomorrow night”
In team news, City will be without Conor McCarthy, Colm Horgan and Achille Campion with injury, but there is good news with Mark McNulty and Gearóid Morrissey back in contention for the Rebel Army.
After Thursday’s bittersweet win over Dinamo Minisk in the Europa League, which saw the Candystripes bow out 3-2 on aggregate, Derry face another long journey to Turner’s Cross.
Re-energized from Thursday’s preformance and raring to go once again, Kenny Shiels was itching to go again with tonight’s encounter.
Having only one once at the Cross in his three seasons at Derry, a 2-1 EA Sports Cup win in May 2016, Shiels is eager to improve that record with tonight’s visit.
“We have a shocking league record at Turners Cross so I’d like to do something about that if we could,” the Derry boss told the club’s website.
The Derry native was quick to just regain focus on the league campaign and secure a European spot for the 2019/20 season,
“The challenge for us now is to stay in the race for another crack at Europe next year and that’s what we’ll be focussing on”
Derry will be without the suspended Rory Hale, while Nickly Low is out through injury.
This will be the third league meeting between the sides in 2018.
An enthralling 0-0 at the Brandywell in May saw both Ronan Curtis and Sean McLaughlin shoot wide in the dying embers in what was a well said draw between the sides.
Last June’s encounter was a classic, with City winning 4-2.
Derry’s last league win in Turners Cross was in March 2013, when an injury time penalty from Rory Patterson gave the Candystripes a rare win on Leeside.
Since taking over, Kenny Shiels has only had one win down south, with a 2-1 victory over City in the EA Sports Cup in May 2016.
Cork City 3/1, Draw 7/2, Derry City 7/1.
Cork City 3 – 0 Derry City.
Injured: Conor McCarthy, Colm Horgan, Achille Campion.
Injured: Nickly Low.
Suspended: Rory Hale.