Under pressure Cork City boss John Caulfield has launched a passionate defence of his management going into the most important weekend of his tenure as he bids to save the club’s season.
City go into Friday’s game away to Waterford (RSC, 7.45pm) and an Easter Monday home clash with Sligo Rovers on the back of the worst run of Caulfield’s six-year reign, with Cork City just one point above the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division relegation zone, having taken just one point from their last four games.
Amid increasing supporter discontent, Caulfield admitted yesterday there was “no hiding place”, but he remains confident he can turn around City’s flagging fortunes against a Waterford side enduring an underwhelming season themselves, but who have already won at Turner’s Cross this season.
“There’s no hiding place for this management team,” said Caulfield.
“Everyone knows who we are. we’re all ex-players. It’s the job of our life, (managing) our own home club. We’ve had an absolutely phenomenal time and every day we come in is a privilege. The supporters know we work within the club’s structures but it is difficult.
“I believe in these lads. I do think we should be higher up the table.
Do I think we can get into top four and qualify for Europe? Absolutely. We’re totally determined that we will turn it around we just need everyone united.
City suffered a 2-1 defeat to UCD at Belfield last Monday, with two goals in the last five minutes proving so costly.
Just three days previously City left victory slip as Dean Clarke scored a 90th-minute equaliser for St Patrick’s Athletic at Turner’s Cross.
On the back of two league defeats to Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers, the run leaves Caulfield vulnerable but yesterday he gave a reminder of where the club was when he took the Turner’s Cross hot-seat in November 2013.
“The management team came in when the club was on its knees, seriously in debt, down the table with crowds of less than 1,000.
“The team have been in the top two for the last five years, four cup finals, a double, back-to-back cups, Europe every year.
“There’s been massive cuts within the club, massive changes of budgets, we work within the structures and work within the ethos of what the club want us to do, what the board want us to do. That’s their choice. We do our best every day. Over the last five or six years it’s been excellent but we’ve had a bad run of form.
“From the outside and with the huge turnaround in players, this was always going to be tough year and it is, no doubt about it. All I can do is work as hard as I can every day.
If there’s someone out there can bring the club to another level, fine, all I know is we can do our best and our best for the past five years has been incredibly strong and brought the amount of money into the club... but that’s outside my remit.
“We have our own things in here to turn around.”
City look set to be without Conor McCormack, Karl Sheppard, Alan Bennett, Daire O’Connor, Colm Horgan, and the suspended Gary Comerford for tomorrow’s Munster derby, with Caulfield hoping some may return for Monday’s home clash with Sligo Rovers.
He said there is no issue with midfielder Garry Buckley, who appeared to clash with Caulfield during the defeat at Belfield last Monday. “Garry has been a phenomenal player for this club. We’re passionate people — myself and Garry are the closest guys you could meet. We were in the Mardyke training yesterday and we were laughing about it. There’s always words being said behind closed doors but as a group, they fight for their lives.”