The Bohs boss has warned his players of a Cork backlash following the latter’s 2-1 home defeat to Sligo Rovers while the City manager is also looking for a “massive reaction” to his side’s failure to take advantage of Dundalk’s loss to Galway United.
Now, with the champions having slumped to a second successive defeat by losing to Bray Wanderers Wednesday, Cork get another chance to use one of their two games in hand to cut the Lilywhite’s six-point lead at the top.
“They will be well up for it,” said Long. “John Caulfield will be looking for a response after losing to Sligo. They would have seen Monday’s game as a chance to make ground up on Dundalk and they’ll be looking at tonight the same way. It’s not a good time to be playing them but it’s never easy against Cork.”
Said Caulfield: “Obviously, everyone was very disappointed after Monday, but we have had a good chat. We met Tuesday and went through a good bit of stuff, so we put it behind us and we have trained very well since then.
“We’ve all had our say, every fella will have his sleeves rolled up, and I expect a massive reaction tonight.”
Bohs, who come into the game in eighth place in the SSE Airtricity Premier Division on the back of a 2-0 win over Finn Harps, welcome the return of Dean Byrne and Keith Buckley from suspension but Dylan Hayes (ankle) and Stephen Best (knee) are doubts. New signing Dean O’Halloran is expected to feature, subject to international clearance for the 20-year-old former Fulham player arriving today.
John Dunleavy, John Kavanagh and Alan Smith remain sidelined for the home side, while there is also a doubt over the availability of Alan Bennett, who missed the Sligo game.
Tonight’s other Premier Division fixtures are: Sligo Rovers v Shamrock Rovers, Showgrounds; St. Patrick’s Athletic v Galway United, Richmond Park; Finn Harps v Derry City, Finn Park (8pm); and Wexford Youths v Longford Town, Ferrycarrig (8pm).
In the First Division, UCD host Drogheda United and Waterford United are at home to Shelbourne. Games kick off at 7.45pm unless otherwise stated.
Meanwhile, League chiefs have announced a number of date changes and additional fixtures.
Ahead of their game against the Republic of Ireland national team, Oman will play two friendlies against Cork City on Tuesday, August 23rd (7.45pm) and Limerick on Friday, August 26th (7pm). In the Premier Division, Derry City’s trip to Shamrock Rovers will now take place on Tuesday, August 30th (8pm) having originally been postponed on Friday, July 8.
Four fixtures in the Premier Division, originally postponed due to European competition, have been rearranged to take place on Tuesday, September 6. The games are: Finn Harps v Cork City, 8pm; Galway United v Shamrock Rovers, 7.45pm; St. Patrick’s Athletic v Bray Wanderers, 7.45pm and Sligo Rovers v Dundalk, 7.45pm.
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