It’s now 10 weeks since the curtain went up on the new League of Ireland season, and Cork ground out a 1-0 victory at Finn Harps in a rainy and wild Ballybofey.
Cotter believes Harps that night provided the toughest challenge to the Leesiders in a campaign which has went from strength to strength.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow night’s clash at Turner’s Cross, where Cork will look to make it 12 league wins on the trot, having already beaten every team in the league, Cotter said: “You couldn’t look further than Finn Harps away. First game of the season, you look at the conditions, there was about three pitch inspections, the pitch was heavy as it is up there at the best of times.
“I think that is a massive three points, away from home and a clean sheet. That would take beating. To start the league like that was brilliant.”
That rain-soaked February night seems a long time ago now, and Cotter believes some of the club’s homegrown stars, like Gearóid Morrissey and Garry Buckley, have “grown into men” this season.
“A lot of these players have matured, the likes of Gearóid, Garry, who would have been around under Tommy Dunne when they were still kids, now they’re growing into men; Kevin O’Connor is in his third season. They now have that bit of maturity about them.”
Buckley is a serious doubt for tomorrow as he recovers from a hamstring injury, while centre-half Alan Bennett is also rated very doubtful. If Bennett fails to recover, then club captain John Dunleavy is likely to jump into the breach.
Dunleavy scored the second goal against Bray and could face his hometown club again.
The Donegal man believes a “nasty” streak in City training is paying dividends.
“The training is really, really intense, it’s tough but that’s what you want. You want boys pushing each other and being that little bit nasty.
“We’ve been performing well, we just have to keep it going on Friday night.”
Meanwhile three Cork City players have been nominated for the SSE Airtricity League/Soccer Writers’ Association of Ireland player of the month for April award. Karl Sheppard, Garry Buckley, and Conor McCormack are all nominated, along with Dundalk’s Dave McMillan, Bray’s Gary McCabe, and Limerick’s Robbie Williams.