John Cotter is pleased that Cork City have an immediate opportunity to bounce back after losing to Dundalk at Turner’s Cross.
This evening, City are straight back into the action away to UCD (7.45pm), with the interim manager hoping his players will put Friday’s setback behind them by replicating the performance they put on in beating the Students just over a week ago.
“Absolutely,” said Cotter, “that’s what I said to the players in the dressing room afterwards on Friday: the good thing about having a game so soon is that there’s no time to feel sorry for yourselves, you’ve no choice but to pick yourselves up and get going again.
"Everyone has to be positive and go out with the attitude we’ve shown for the last few weeks - and that’s including against Dundalk, to be fair – and hopefully go up there and put in a performance and get another three points.”
Cotter accepts City were beaten by the better side on Friday but thinks the outcome – a 2-0 win for the champions - could have been different had his own side both avoided lapses in concentration and made more of the opportunities that came their way on the night.
“I wouldn’t begrudge Dundalk the three points although I thought we created a lot of chances but obviously didn’t take any of them,” he said.
“And against sides of the calibre of Dundalk – they’re top of the league for a reason - you get punished and that’s what happened at crucial times, early in both halves. There were a couple of lapses in concentration and that’s something we need to rectify.
As well as the chances his own team created, Cotter was encouraged by the bright performance of James Tilley who always looked the City player most likely to unlock the Dundalk defence.
“I thought James was outstanding, brilliant on the night,” said the interim boss.
“As a few other players were. So we have to take the positives and learn from the mistakes we made.”
For Dundalk’s first goal, Mark McNulty’s failure to either hold on to Patrick McEleney’s shot or divert it anywhere other than to the feet of Dean Jarvis, who scored from the rebound, brought renewed scrutiny on the form this season of the veteran shot-stopper.
But Cotter was quick to come to the defence of his number one.
“If Mark or any ‘keeper makes a mistake it’s highlighted more because it leads straight to a goal,” he said. “Mark has been unbelievable for this club over the last 20 years - there’s a lot of people who forget that.
"Maybe he’s an easy target for a lot of people to have a cut off but I wouldn’t do that.
“Mark has been outstanding and he’s a great personality around the place. Since I was brought back to the club in 2014 he’s been Goalkeeper of the Year on at least two occasions.
"Look, Mark’s been brilliant and I’ve no doubt he’ll respond in the right way, which is a positive way, for the game against UCD.”
Garry Buckley is available again after suspension for tonight’s game at the UCD Bowl while injury doubts Gearoid Morriseey, Shane Griffin and Dan Casey were all being assessed over the weekend.
Meanwhile, former Cork City chairman Brian Lennox has held the current players responsible for the departure of John Caulfield.
“I don’t like the fact that we lost a manager because of player power and I believe that it was player power,” he told Trevor Welch of Cork’s 96FM.
Asked if he felt it had been the right time for the Caulfield to go, Lennox replied: “I cannot say that it was and I cannot say that it wasn’t but I don’t like seeing a manager being pushed out by the players.
If I was the chairman I would have actually gathered all the players together, had a good talking to them and told them to cop themselves on and that there was only one boss.
“That’s what I would have done. I have done that before!”
In tonight’s other SSE Airtricity League Premier Division games, leaders Dundalk are at home to Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers - who only trail the Lilywhites on goal difference - are away to Finn Harps (8pm).
In the First Division, Bray Wanderers entertain Galway United.
Matches kick off at 7.45pm unless otherwise indicated.