While John Caulfield believes that there are still “twists and turns” to come in the title race between Dundalk and Cork City, he will also know that his is the side which can least afford any more slip-ups on the run-in.
With champions and leaders Dundalk now seven points clear, Cork will want to take maximum advantage of their game in hand when they welcome Galway United to Turner’s Cross this evening.
City’s winning streak of six in a row was halted on Saturday in a scoreless draw away to Sligo Rovers and, although Galway United went down to a 4-2 defeat to Shamrock Rovers the previous night, Caulfield has admiration for the ninth-placed side managed by former Cork boss Tommy Dunne.
“Galway have beaten all of the top sides, they are that type of team,” he points out. “It is probably frustrating for Tommy, because they haven’t had the consistency, but they have some excellent attacking players. There are goals in their team and they have proven that. They can certainly finish in the top half of the table and we are well aware of their attacking threats.”
For Cork, it’s all about getting the win tonight which will close the gap again on Dundalk.
“We need to play well and get the three points,” he says. “We know that it will be three games a week from now until the finish, so we need to make sure we stay in contention because I still think there will be a few twists and turns.”
For the home side, Steven Beattie is available after suspension, but a family bereavement means he may miss the game. Kevin O’Connor is rated as very doubtful while goalkeeper Alan Smith and skipper John Dunleavy are both ruled out for the rest of the season.
Jose Garcia is the only absentee for the visitors as Galway United prepare for their trip to a venue Dunne knows well.
“It’s difficult going to Turner’s Cross,” he admits. “It’s one of these places that few teams come away from with a result. We’re going to have to look at making sure that we’re right in both attack and defence. We feel that if we’re up and at it, then we can be capable of winning and of beating any team in the division. It’s about being more consistent and that’s what we have to be between now and the end of the season.”
In tonight’s other SSE Airtricity League Premier Division games, Derry City host Shamrock Rovers at the Brandywell and St Patrick’s Athletic entertain Sligo Rovers at Richmond Park. All tonight’s games kick off at 7.45pm.
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