Who would have thought Sligo Rovers would come into this fixture with just one point from their opening two league matches and still have more points than Cork City (kick-off 7.45pm)?
And, given Cork’s poor start to the 2019 season, Liam Buckley and his charges must be confident of getting a positive result against the Leesiders.
An opening night draw away to reigning champions Dundalk was almost followed by a similar result against Buckley’s former team St Patrick’s Athletic last Friday.
However an injury time winner from ex-Sligo striker Mikey Drennan denied them an unbeaten start to 2019.
“I thought we put in a reasonable shift,” Buckley ruefully told the club’s official website.
“There wasn’t a lot between the two teams. I don’t think either team deserved to win but we will be disappointed we didn’t pick up even a point.
“We haven’t seen the best of this group yet. Tachnically they’re very good, we just need to stamp our style on our play.”
The Sligo boss also indicated that the visit of a Cork side that will be under pressure to put some points on the board wasn’t something that worried him.
“It’ll be a dog rough league this year, very competitive. I’m not overly concerned with the opposition, I’m just trying to get our team playing better.
“I was just gutted for them [the fans] in relation to that last minute goal because picking up two draws against two teams that would be recognised as being well equipped to make the top four would have been a good start for us.
“We’ve got to move on, take the positives, and try and get a result out of Cork”.
Sligo have three injury concerns ahead of the Cork game with ex-Cork defender John Dunleavy is a doubt with a groin strain that forced him to retire early from the defeat to St Pats.
David Cawley and Ronan Murray (signed from Dundalk this winter) will face late fitness tests.
With two defeats from their opening two league league fixtures and another in the President’s Cup against bitter rivals Dundalk, the war drums are sounding from the Turner’s Cross terraces and the need for a quick reversal of form will be on the minds of the Cork City squad as they face Sligo Rovers on Monday night.
City have something in common with their hosts having also lost 1-0 to St Patrick’s Athletic but the home defeat to Waterford last Friday has heaped the pressure onto a City squad that have yet to earn a point in the 2019 league campaign.
Matthew Gillam, who has yet to play a competitive game for Cork, will again be absent through injury along with defender Alan Bennett who is ruled out with a hamstring injury.
Caulfield also has doubts hanging over the fitness of Gearoid Morrissey, Shane Griffin and striker Graham Cummins.
Despite these selection concerns City have a big enough squad to cope. Kevin O’Connor, recently returned from a spell with Preston North End, should play at left back.
And the absence of Cummins could give opportunities to any of Liam Nash, James Tilley or Darragh Rainsford, while Karl Sheppard has also played in the central stiking role.
Speaking to the club website, Caulfield said he was well aware of the threat that Sligo pose.
“They had an excellent draw away to Dundalk. They lost by a last-minute goal to Pat’s and that was disappointing.
“You can see they had one of their biggest attendances in years, so everyone in Sligo is right behind this team. It’s a passionate and hostile place and we need to give a top performance.”
Referee: Ben Connolly.
Cork City won three of the four league meetings between these sides in 2018 including both games at the Showgrounds, but Sligo won the most recent encounter, winning 2-1 at Turner’s Cross in August of last year.
Sligo haven’t beaten Cork in a league game at The Showgrounds since April 13th 2013 when goals from Lee-J Lynch and Anthony Elding earned them a 2-0 win.
So far in 2019, Sligo and Cork have managed just one league goal between them. Sligo’s Jack Keaney got it against Dundalk on the opening night of the season.
Sligo Rovers 3/1; Draw 11/5; Cork City 10/11.
Sligo Rovers 1-1 Cork City
Doubtful: John Dunleavy (groin), David Cawley, Ronan Coughlan (ankle).
Injured: Alan Bennett (hamstring), Matthew Gillam.
Doubtful: Gearoid Morrissey, Shane Griffin, Graham Cummins.