Cork City manager John Caulfield is keen for his team to maintain their momentum after claiming a first league win of the season.
Goals from Seán McLoughlin and Gearóid Morrissey gave the Rebel Army a 2-1 win over Sligo Rovers on Monday night, having opened their league campaign with defeats against St Patrick’s Athletic and Waterford.
While Caulfield feels things weren’t as bad as the table was showing, he is nevertheless happy with the character shown.
“Our last two performances haven’t been bad but we haven’t scored,” he said.
“Was there a lot wrong? No, but every game at the moment is close and there isn’t much in them.
“Sligo got a result against Dundalk and then lost to a last-minute header against Pat’s, who are at the top of the table. It just shows you how tight it is.
“The pleasing thing is that, at 2-1, we had to weather a storm and we did that. It’s three points and you move on to Friday night.”
Striker Dan Smith’s arrival from Portsmouth was confirmed on Monday afternoon and he made his debut at Sligo Rovers that night, replacing Liam Nash, who is on loan from Gillingham.
Another loan player, James Tilley, who is contracted to Brighton, came on as well while Matthew Gillam has joined from Rochdale but is currently out injured. Along with Graham Cummins, Karl Sheppard, Dáire O’Connor, and Shane Daly-Butz it means Caulfield is well-stocked in terms of attacking options.
However, he makes the point that players coming in without having played a lot of football lately are playing catch-up.
“The problem with the lads coming in, it’s like Liam, they haven’t played a lot of games and they need to get up to the intensity and the fitness that these games are about,” he said.
“Our league is very tough and they’re coming from leagues where they think they can walk straight in but our league is an animal of a league. You need to be incredibly fit and work so hard.
“It was great for Liam, he got 60 minutes on Monday, Dan came on and he did well. He’s only come into the squad in the last few days and it’ll all stand to him. Certainly, he’ll give us more options because Graham was unavailable again tonight.
“We need a couple of strikers, but overall the lads did well.”
Next up is a home clash with Derry City on Friday.
“We were happy on Monday night but as soon as Tuesday came, we were focused on Friday, this game doesn’t allow you to be happy or sad for too long!” Caulfield laughed.
“The team took a lot of criticism after Friday’s match and you have to take that on board because people pay to come in and watch and if they want to criticise you they’re entitled to do that. We headed down the road with smiles on our faces but there’s no doubt that Friday against Derry at home is another big game.”