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Cork City's captain is a target for the Swedish club they just dumped out of the Europa League

Greg Bolger continues to impress.

inpho_01058615 Cork City's stand-in captain Greg Bolger. Source: INPHO/Donall Farmer

– Paul Dollery reports from Genk

IT WAS INEVITABLE that Greg Bolger’s performances for Cork City would eventually result in him being courted by other clubs. But less than six months into his career as a City player, that already appears to be happening.

Bolger joined Cork City from St Patrick’s Athletic before the beginning of this season, and the impressive midfielder has quickly become a favourite among supporters on Leeside.

The 27-year-old, who is currently captaining the club in the absence of Johnny Dunleavy, has played a key role in City’s Europa League run, despite playing through an ankle injury he sustained in the first leg of their tie against Linfield.

After last night’s 1-0 defeat to KRC Genk in the first leg of their third round qualifier in Belgium, City manager John Caulfield, while paying tribute to Bolger, admitted that there has already been an expression of interest regarding the Wexford native.

Swedish Cup holders BK Hacken, who City eliminated in the previous round of the Europa League, are seemingly keen to bring Bolger to Gothenburg having been impressed by him over the two games, which ended in a 2-1 aggregate win for the Irish side.

Greg Bolger is a captain. He’s a leader, a fantastic player. BK Hacken want to sign him. He was the best player on the park in the two games there.

“He’s been the standout player in Ireland for a long time. I’m just delighted that he joined us this year. He loves playing with us and I’m just delighted to have him,” said Caulfield.

With a crucial second leg at home to Genk to come next Thursday, as well as the continuation of their bid to dislodge Dundalk as Premier Division champions, City will be eager to retain Bolger’s services for now.

Bolger, who had spells with UCD and Dundalk before joining Pat’s in 2012, is understood to be under contract at Turner’s Cross until the end of the season, at which point he’s unlikely to have a shortage of options.

Meanwhile, Bolger believes City have it all to play for in next Thursday night’s second leg at Turner’s Cross (7.45pm), with Leon Bailey’s goal on the half-hour mark all that separates Genk from John Caulfield’s men, who took plenty of positives from the Luminus Arena.

Alejandro Pozuelo with Greg Bolger and Garry Buckley Alejandro Pozuelo of Genk under pressure from Cork City's Greg Bolger and Garry Buckley. Source: Jeffrey Gaens/INPHO

“It was a mad night for the club because before the game we just weren’t sure what way the whole thing would go for us up against a team of Genk’s quality,” said Bolger.

“It was a great result for us away from home and the fact that we are coming away a bit disappointed that we didn’t get a goal, it tells you a lot about this team and this group of players.

It’s only 1-0 so we feel we have a chance at home next week and it all comes down to the first goal on the night now on Thursday out at Turner’s Cross.”

Bolger added: “We can take great heart from this result and this performance. All the lads were top notch. We go again next week with everything to play for and if we play like tonight again, we have a right chance in front of a packed house.

“We will need to keep them goalless for as long as possible and then have a right cut in the last 20 minutes. We can have a pop at them and maybe a set-piece might open the door for us. But listen, Genk are a real quality side and we will have to approach it the same as the first leg and be patient.

“The fans have to understand that we are playing a serious, serious side in Genk. Their left winger, Bailey, who got the goal, has been linked with a big move to Chelsea. They are a top quality team and better than BK Hacken.”

Cork City’s Europa League hopes still alive but ‘disappointed’ Caulfield rues missed chances

All to play for in Cork next week as City suffer narrow defeat in Belgium

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Paul Dollery

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