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'Sometimes players who play down in Cork probably don't understand the pressure'

Cork City will be aiming to halt Dundalk’s march towards the Premier Division title when they clash tonight.

CORK CITY BOSS John Caulfield is hoping for an emphatic response from his team to last Friday night’s comprehensive defeat at the hands of Bohemians.

City, whose hopes of retaining the title were severely hampered by a 4-2 loss at Dalymount Park, will be aiming to halt Dundalk’s march towards Premier Division glory when they welcome the Lilywhites to Turner’s Cross this evening (7.15pm, RTÉ 2).

John Caulfield dejected after the game Cork City manager John Caulfield after last week's defeat to Bohemians. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Caulfield’s team have had to contend with considerable criticism, particularly locally, following a performance which the manager described as the worst of his five-year tenure.

However, they’ll be looking to rebound in positive fashion against their fiercest rivals, who can take a giant step towards reclaiming the league crown with a good result on Leeside.

“Obviously guys were really disappointed. The performance was poor. We made a lot of individual mistakes and as a team we didn’t do enough,” Caulfield said in relation to City’s defeat to Bohs, which stretched their winless run in the league to three games.

“It was sore for the lads and it’s something they have to learn from. Sometimes players who play down in Cork probably don’t understand the pressure. They’re getting to understand it. Obviously as a management team we know that.

“Sometimes you have to be patient because maybe the reaction the players took after the game was sore. Maybe that was something they didn’t expect because at no other club in Ireland would you get that reaction. No matter how you explain it as a management team, sometimes the players have to see it and feel it.

“But the most important thing is you have to bounce back and give a true performance. That’s what we’re planning for.”

Although Dundalk haven’t won in their last seven visits to Turner’s Cross, a victory tonight would send them nine points clear at the top of the table. Stephen Kenny’s side also have a game in hand, at home to Derry City on Tuesday, after which both Dundalk and Cork will each have just four league games remaining in the current campaign.

The Leesiders have faltered dramatically in recent weeks, squandering eight points in their last three outings. Since their 1-0 defeat at Turner’s Cross in April, Dundalk have only dropped nine points in total. 

The Louth outfit come into tonight’s game well-rested, with their last game taking place in Limerick a fortnight ago when they set up an FAI Cup semi-final against UCD. Cork will aim for revenge against Bohs on the other side of that draw next weekend.

Sean Hoare Sean Hoare of Dundalk. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

“We’ve had a lot of time to prepare for this game so everybody is raring to go,” said Dundalk defender Sean Hoare, who’s bidding to win his first league title with the club having joined last year following their three-in-a-row success of 2014 to ’16.

“Turner’s Cross is always a tough place to go with a big home support but it’s usually a nice surface down there, which suits us. They’re always tight battles and we expect the same on Friday.

“We all know we need to keep going now at such an important time of the season. Everyone, bar one or two, is fit and ready so there’s healthy competition for places all over the pitch which is keeping everyone on their toes.” 

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First Division

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About the author:

Paul Dollery

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