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Pressure is on as City welcome Sligo Rovers

Wednesday, 29th August, 2018 4:42pm

League action returns to Turner's Cross this week after a week's break for the FAI Cup.

Cork City eased to a comfortable 4-0 victory over Maynooth at home last week and now must turn their attention to Sligo Rovers on Friday evening.

City's last outing in the SSE Airtricity League was a frustrating night, a 1-1 draw at home to St Pat's that saw the club drop further behind league leaders Dundalk who are three points ahead in top spot.

A win on Friday is the very least needed in order for this team to regain the title, something manager John Caulfied is only too aware of.

“Every game is tough, any team that has come down has tried to put it up to us so from our point of view, we know how important the game is. We're in the run-in stage now and we need to turn performances into wins. Sligo have always been tough opponents.

“Earlier in the season Jimmy (Keohane) scored late to beat them 1-0 and their away form is very very good. Sligo, from now until the end of the season, will be exceptionally dangerous. They have a very talented team, their main playmaker is Rhys McCabe in the middle of the park and they brought Lee Lynch in who is quite a good player while they've built a solid a solid defence with Patrick McClean and Kyle Callan-McFadden; they're an incredible club with passionate fans. We need to be at our best on Friday night.”

On the injury front, Caulfield revealed that Colm Horgan is still out, with Steven Beattie a possibility for includion.

“Colm is still out and that's something we need to monitor between now and the end of the season, hopefully we'll get him back by then but it's a tricky one. Beats is back doing light training the last couple of days and he's due to take part Thursday so we'll see how he is closer to the game.

“Conor McCarthy is the only other one cause he's had a bit of a reaction so he won't be involved at the weekend, but other then that, I think everyone else should be okay.”

One player who knows only too much about injury this season is Gearoid Morrissey. The Mahon native has missed patches of the season through a reaccurrence of a groin injury but is now back to full fitness, having played a full 90 minutes in last week's win over Maynooth. Speaking about his recent injury woes, Morrissey said: “It's an overload on the groin, it wouldn't even be major but it was niggling, and when it's niggling like that, you just know it could get serous if you don't look after it and step out.”

As for not being able to play a full part in recent league and European clashes, Morrissey admits his timing has been frustrating.

“It's extremely difficult, mentally, to just be sitting there especially when I was used to being involved in everything so ya, it was tough. It's a mental test and any fella who goes through it and comes out the other side, fair play.”

With last week's win a turning of the tide in fortunes for Morrissey, he admits the recent chopping and changes of competitions, going between the league and cup, has been welcome as it allowed him and others more minutes on the pitch ahead of the Sligo clash.

“I missed a lot with the injuries I picked up, so there was myself and another few who really needed minutes, and no matter how many friendlies you have you can't get that, so it's great to have competitive fixtures where you're going out against fellas who are giving their all to beat you. I found it very helpful and I know another couple of lads did.

“Anyone who's come off the bench has had a massive impact, and to be fair, John would emphasize it to stay switched on. When you haven't played for a few weeks it is easy to switch off for a little while but John has us going well here, especially mentally. It's a collective goal (the end of the season) that we're all thinking about and you know when you're called upon, you do have to go out and produce.”

As for dropping points to St Pats, Morrissey's feelings are clear. “It's another point on the board and another point in the right direction. But we were a bit disappointed, we felt we left the game behind the way the game went. I felt we could have came away with the win but it wasn't to be.

“In my experience in challenging the last few years, there's always twists and there's always always something happens. I think it would be really naive for anyone to be saying or thinking 'that's it'. We just need to look at ourselves and get as many points on the board and not be looking at anyone else. It's just all about us going winning every game from now until the end.”

Manager Caulfied is certainly in the same vein of thinking as his player, concluding: “We're a point away from qualifying for Europe which would be another incredible achievement, that would be five years-in-a-row. At the same time that from our position that we need to keep the pressure on and win every game but, if we don't, certainly our chances of regaining the league are gone.”

Cork City welcome Sligo Rovers to Turner's Cross in the SSE Airtricity League Of Ireland Premier Division fixture on Friday 31 August. Kick-off is at 7.45pm.

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