Neale Fenn takes charge for the first time as Cork City host Sligo Rovers at Turners Cross (kick off 7:45).
Tonight’s fixture rounds off a mixed week for the club, following a number of announcements both and off the field. The club had their earliest first FAI Cup loss in five years last Friday, after Conor Melody’s half time strike saw Galway United win 1-0 at Eammon Deacy Park. In the aftermath, City were quick to respond with the appointment of the now former Longford Town manager; and former City player Fenn. When things looked to be normalizing, City where handed another shock last Tuesday, when first team coach and the person supposed to be Fenn’s number two, John Cotter announced his resignation from the club.
Now after a full week with the first team, Fenn will be looking to change fortunes for the Rebel Army who have not won for fifteen weeks.
“It’s very important (to get off to a winning start) just from a morale point of view and for the crowd.
“It’s a big game for us. It’s a chance for the boys now to play their way into the team and try to stay there until the end of the season and I’m sure they’ll be up for it; I’m really looking forward to it. I’m expecting a tough game. Liam Buckley’s teams always try and play, they’ve got some good players and they scored 6 in the cup last week. It’s going to be tough but that’s what I’m here for.”
Sweeping changes to style and tactics were certainly ruled out, with Fenn admitting confidence building was key through tonight’s tie,
“For Friday’s game, I’m not going to go in there and make huge changes because there just isn’t enough time, we just need to get a bit of a tune out of some of the players that have been underperforming, and get them playing and enjoying themselves and get them a bit of confidence.”
In team news, City will be without Conor McCarthy through suspension with Cian Murphy and Cian Bargary also unavailable.
Sligo will be boosted in their travels, following last Saturday’s FAI Cup thriller over Limerick at the Showgrounds. Trailing 2-0 after nine minutes, the home side battled back through goals from Ronan Coughlan, Regan Donelan, David Cawley, Kristopher Twardek and a brace from Romeo Parks.
“There is a bit of spring in the players after the win last week.
“It will be a busy period over the next few weeks and while we don’t have huge numbers that doesn’t bother me because the group we have are working extremely hard and relishing the training and the matches.
“We have that small lead over Cork and if we can get a positive result it will set us up to stay ahead of them. I want us to finish ahead of all of the teams below us in the table and we’ll need some good results to do so. We’d like to get as close to the teams above us as possible too”
Niall Morahan returns to the squad following injury. Johnny Dunleavy and Danny Kane are set for late fitness tests. There are no suspensions.
Referee: Robert Harvey
This will be the fourth meeting between the sides in 2019, after two draws and one win between the sides. The solitary win belongs to Cork City, who ran out 2-1 winners at the Showgrounds last March.
Cork City have not won a home league game since May 10th, a run which has only been highlighted by an ongoing goal drought at the club. In this period, City have scored just one goal at home, which came their 1-1 draw against Shamrock Rovers last month.
Cork City 10/11, Draw 23/10, Sligo Rovers 3/1.
Cork City 1-0 Sligo Rovers
Injured: Cian Murphy and Cian Bargary
Suspended: Conor McCarthy
Injured: Johnny Dunleavy and Danny Kane.