Cork City midfielder Greg Bolger will be hoping to show his mean streak to Dundalk as the league leaders meet the champions in a crucial top-of-the-table clash at Oriel Park tomorrow night after declaring: “I’m not nice when I’m on the bench.”
A combination of injury and the form of Conor McCormack saw Bolger lose his place in the starting XI. Bolger has returned to the City midfield in recent weeks, however, in a more advanced role. The Wexford man is enjoying his football again and eager to face the Lilywhites.
“I was unfortunate to get injured for four or five weeks,” said Bolger. “I’m just getting my games now and I love it. To be on the bench is not nice and I’m not nice when I’m on the bench.
“Everyone is champing at the bit to get in. I’m not playing my normal role, I’m playing a bit higher but I don’t mind. I played there with St Pat’s, one of two playing higher up, back running channels, it’s probably not my best position but I just want to play. You work all week to play on the Friday night. I’ll play in goal if that’s where the need be so I’m enjoying it.”
Cork travel to Dundalk 15 points clear of Stephen Kenny’s defending champions. Ahead of the mid-season break, it’s a crucial fixture if Dundalk are to put pressure on the Leesiders at the top.
“I think they need to win but they’re on a good run, so they’ll be confident,” says Bolger, who spent a season at Dundalk six years ago.
“Dundalk have been so dominant over the last few years, it’s going to be tough up there. It’s a big game, we’ll treat it like any other. If we don’t lose, we still have that gap. I don’t think we know how to play for a draw but it probably wouldn’t be a bad result. But we always go out to try and win.
“It’s only halfway through the season and a lot can happen. We need to keep it going. We have to give respect to Dundalk. We won’t be counting any chickens.”
Having endured a frustrating spell out of action, Bolger admits the mid-season break couldn’t have come at a worse time. “I’m not looking forward to it, to be honest. Some of the lads need to recharge batteries, there’s a lot of lads carrying knocks, so for them maybe it’s a good thing but personally, no, I want to keep going.”
City come into the game unbeaten, with 15 wins from 16 games, scoring 45 league goals and conceding eight. Last Friday they put four past Shamrock Rovers at Turner’s Cross, a game lit up by a Gearoid Morrissey piledriver.
Is it time for Bolger to start featuring more often on the scoresheet?
“It’s probably something I need to add to my game,”he says. “I can probably ping a ball 50 yards but I can’ t shoot! There’s things I have to work on, hopefully I can get one or two before the season is over.”
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