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Dublin: 9°C Monday 26 October 2020

Double injury blow for Cork City but McNulty could return for crunch Champions League clash

Two of the men who started last week’s first leg have been ruled out of tomorrow’s return game in Warsaw.

– Paul Dollery reports from Warsaw

CORK CITY MANAGER John Caulfield will be forced to make at least two changes to his team for tomorrow night’s meeting with Legia Warsaw at the Polish Army Stadium [8pm].

Conor McCarthy and Gearoid Morrissey, both of whom started last Tuesday’s 1-0 first-leg defeat at Turner’s Cross, have been ruled out of the return leg.

aPKLVMA8 Cork City's Gearoid Morrissey and Conor McCarthy. Source: INPHO

The pair stayed behind in Cork when City departed for the Polish capital yesterday for their crucial clash with Legia in the first qualifying round of the Champions League.

Having performed well prior to their enforced substitutions, McCarthy and Morrissey were each replaced in the second half of last week’s game after sustaining hamstring and groin injuries respectively.

With Colm Horgan — City’s regular right-back this season — already on the injury list, Steven Beattie is set to replace McCarthy. Jimmy Keohane is expected to drop deeper to deputise for Morrissey, which could open the door for Graham Cummins to return in attack.

Despite missing the first leg with an ankle injury, goalkeeper Mark McNulty could reclaim his place from Peter Cherrie, who also played in Friday night’s 1-0 defeat to Burnley in a friendly.

McNulty has travelled with the team as City aim to earn a tie against Spartak Trnava (Slovakia) or HŠK Zrinjski Mostar (Bosnia & Herzegovina) in the second qualifying round.

The 37-year-old trained at the Polish Army Stadium tonight, along with Cherrie and 19-year-old third-choice goalkeeper David Coffey.

Mark McNulty Cork City goalkeeper Mark McNulty. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“We’re going to leave it until the last minute,” said Cork City manager John Caulfield, when asked at this evening’s press conference about McNulty’s prospects of starting against the Polish champions.

“He did a light session this morning, he’ll do a little bit this evening, but I must make sure that he’s 100% because Peter did great last week, he did great against Burnley on Friday, so at least he’s in form, which is good. We’ll wait and see.”

Despite having a one-goal deficit to overturn, City attacker Karl Sheppard feels that the performance the Leesiders produced at Turner’s Cross last week boosted their belief that they can be competitive against a team of Legia’s calibre.

He said: “Yeah, I think so. When you go up against any team that you haven’t played before, there’s always the unknown. We know that they’re a quality team. You can see how good they are when they move the ball from side to side very quickly and in possession they’re all very comfortable. They’re good players.

“We had our chances in the first game and just didn’t take them. Hopefully we can do that tomorrow night.”

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Paul Dollery

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