City must return to the Caulfield finishing school

Cork City’s Garry Buckley has his header saved by Sligo Rovers goalkeeper Mitchell Beeney. Picture: Eddie O’Hare

For a man who clocked up 129 goals during his playing days with Cork City, the club’s troubles in scoring this season are naturally frustrating for boss John Caulfield.

But the City boss is confident they can cast those frustrations aside, starting in tonight’s clash with Derry City at the Brandywell (7.45pm).

In a desperately disappointing season so far for the Leesiders, the club have scored just eight times in the league — four of those came in one match against Finn Harps — failing to fire again last Monday night at home to Sligo.

Caulfield says the club have been focusing on finishing in training as they bid to get the goals coming.

“You have to encourage the boys to get in the box and be there to miss chances,” says Caulfield.

“The danger when you don’t score and you miss a chance is that you shy away or make the run to the wing when you should be in the box.

“We did create chances the other night against Sligo, yes we missed them but we’ve been working on crossing and finishing. I don’t care if they miss chances at least they’re in there. It’s when they are not in the box, that’s when your’re asking questions.

Through spells in your own career you might go six or seven games without a goal. You go back to basics, get your head down, get in those positions and hit the target — a bobbler might go in and you’re back at it again.

The Cork boss said after the scoreless draw with Sligo at Turner’s Cross on Monday that the club had been frustrated with some of their transfer targets this season, missing out on four players who chose not to come to Leeside.

Nevertheless he is confident the club remain one of the most attractive destinations in the league.

“There’s still plenty of players on the phone wanting to come down here, it’s whether we think they’ll make a difference to us,” he said.

And he expects Kevin O’Connor to play an important role over the coming months. The Wexford man has battled to regain his old form for the club he left for Preston in 2017.

“Kevin came into the club from Preston and hadn’t played for the best part of seven or eight months and his fitness was a long way off,” said Caulfield. “He played in our first couple of games but found it tough because his fitness wasn’t there. We’ve worked hard with him and I think in the next couple of weeks we ll see that. He’ll have a big role to play.”

Alan Bennett, Matty Gillam, and Cian Murphy are all out but Daire O’Connor and Karl Sheppard could play some role for Caulfield’s men.

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