Cork City manager John Caulfield insists his side will play their own game and not worry about any perceived cynicism from Dundalk ahead of tonight’s SSE Airtricity League Premier Division top-of-the-table clash at Turner’s Cross tonight.
City go into the game four points behind the Lilywhites, Caulfield’s side having won their last seven league games while Dundalk are going for nine wins in a row, unbeaten since a loss to the Rebel Army at Oriel Park in March.
The game will be refereed by Robert Rogers, and, when asked if strong officiating will be required, Caulfield indicated he would be instructing his players not to get caught up in such sideshows.
“To be honest, I think that the standard of refereeing is very good,” he said.
“Dundalk are very experienced, they’ve been around the block, they know when and where to make fouls but we’re well aware of that.
“We’ll just move on and make sure we can give our own performance.”
Since three consecutive draws left City with ground to make up, they have been excellent. While Karl Sheppard, captain John Dunleavy, Kenny Browne and Garry Buckley are all doubts, Caulfield expects his team to perform again.
“They’re a fantastic guys to work with. Friday night is an opportunity to win a match and get three points, that’s what we’re looking at,” he said.
“Maybe it’s a bit of a cliche, but we’re just looking at ourselves. We’ve worked hard this year to change things around, it’s a different challenge this week to Longford last week.
“They’ve been champions for the last two years and rightly so, but it’s up to other teams to put the challenge to them. If we don’t stay with them, no-one else will.”
Caulfield has generally gone with a 4-2-3-1 formation this season, but admits there are other systems available to him, especially after Mark O’Sullivan and Seán Maguire combined well in attack in the 3-0 win against Longford Town last Sunday.
“It’s a scenario where we’re looking at different options,” he said.
“Seánie can play wide, he can play in a number 10 role or up top in a one or a two and we know what Mark can give us, nobody knows him better than John Cotter and myself.
“They did well together against Derry, so we’re looking at options.”
With Turner’s Cross having been sold out for the international game between the Republic of Ireland and Belarus on Tuesday, Caulfield hopes that casual fans can be attracted back.
“We’ve a hardcore support of about 3,000,” he said, “and then there’s a floating support which can be 6,000 or 8,000, or even 10,000, as we know from the cup final last year.
“Cork is sports-orientated, the supporters are fussy and they pick their games and I’ve no doubt there’ll be a massive crowd. With the Ireland game, Turner’s Cross is getting attention and from that point of view you’d hope some people will come. We work hard within the club, that’s where we’re quite strong, and we have to keep working at it.”
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