Cork City bid to extend their Europa League adventure against KR Reyjkavik in Iceland tonight and manager John Caulfield will be looking for a volcanic response from his team after last week’s 1-1 first leg draw at Turner’s Cross.
The maths are straightforward and simple and Cork have to score here if they wish to prolong their Euro campaign and qualify for a second round meeting with Norwegian giants, Rosenborg next week.
If Cork win through at the KR Vollur Stadium they will have home advantage in the first leg on July 16 with the away leg to come a week later back in Norway on July 23.
Cork, without the Dennehy brothers Billy and Darren, have slight injuries worries surrounding key men in Alan Bennett and Colin Healy, both with hamstring injuries.
Bennett got the lead goal for Cork in the opening leg before KR’s top scorer Oskar Hauksson nabbed an equaliser to tie it all up in Cork last week.
Bennett and Healy did a light session on arrival on Tuesday night and they took a full part in last night’s work-out at the match venue but Caulfield will not name his team until an hour before kick-off this evening.
Cork’s three substitutes from the first leg Johnny Dunleavy, Dan Murray and Mark O’Sullivan can all expect to start such was the impact they had in the first leg at Turner’s Cross.
Cork, who beat Sweden’s FC Malmo, Ekranas of Lithuania and Valur from Iceland in previous ‘away’ European ties, are reasonably confident of winning through against a KR side that reached the Icelandic Cup semi-finals last Sunday night with a 2-1 win over league leaders FH Reyjkavik with goals from fom Oskar Hauksson and English man Gary Martin.
“We are two well matched teams and it was nip and tuck in Cork so we have to maintain a self-belief that we can do it here.
“It will be another tight game but whoever is the more clinical in the opposition box will probably win it.
“They are not an unknown quantity anymore and, perhaps, that will help us this evening. They have seen us too but I think we have more left in the tank and we have to go and show it now,” said City boss Caulfield whose is on his maiden European voyage having played 22 times for the club in European competition. “The mood is excellent in the camp and we are all really looking forward to it. We are very relaxed and the lads are all in great form,” he said.
“We need one goal and I think we are capable of getting it here tonight and we are confident. We made a lot of errors in the first leg that we normally wouldn’t and we have to rectify that here tonight.
“We have trained and performed well and all we need to do now is hit the ground running and go after the result we want.
“The surface is in good nick and they are expecting a crowd of between 800 and 1,000.
“Robbie Lehane took a knock in training but Alan Bennett and Colin Healy have recovered from their hamstring injuries and they are all bursting to go and play. They are all mad to play and that’s a great situation for me.
“It was great to see some of our fans here at our last training session and we appreciate the time and trouble they have taken to get to Iceland.
“They caused us a few problems with their overlapping runs in the first leg but we certainly didn’t play as well as we would have liked in Cork.
“All the hype of being at home and ending a seven-year gap from European competition played a part last week and people have been talking about this game since the end of last season,” he added.
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