Ahead of tonight’s Premier Division clash with Shamrock Rovers (8pm), Cork City manager John Caulfield has pleaded with the League of Ireland to take more stakeholders into account when setting fixtures.
The reduction of the top flight from 12 teams to ten has seen an increase in games from 33 to 36 and more midweek fixtures. Of City’s three Monday league games so far, only the Bohemians tie was a rescheduled fixture and Caulfield believes that there should be a greater balance to the programme.
“I think everyone would hope for a bit more common sense, in the sense of the league being extended for a couple of weeks,” he said.
“Also, in August and September, the FAI Cup is every second week, a team that gets knocked out is going to end up with a number of weekends with no matches.
“Maybe moving the earlier rounds of the cup to midweek, keeping your league fixtures all at weekends unless there’s a postponement, I think that’s the way to look at things.
“Certainly, there are ideas out there but if you don’t sit around a table and discuss them, they’re not going to be implemented.
“We need to sit down and managers’ and clubs’ views need to be taken into account and discussed. The 36-game league is grand, there’s no problem with that, it just needs to be managed in a different way.”
City come into the game off the back of Friday’s 1-0 win at home to Dundalk, but Caulfield doesn’t expect any kind of hangover against Stephen Bradley’s side, who have yet to win in six games in April.
“Tomorrow will give the answer to that,” he said. “There was no talk afterwards only to make sure we were all in yesterday morning to get ourselves ready for tonight.
“In this league at the moment, you can’t enjoy any win, you have to move on very quickly!
“It has always been about that, all our work is about Shamrock Rovers, how good they are and the good players they have, it’s all about being ready.
“I keep saying week after week, there’s no point taking three points on Friday night and losing on Monday.
“We have to make sure that we’re at our best, the joy of winning Friday was totally channelled into getting the result on Monday.
“You lose a couple of games and confidence can dip a bit but I’m sure Shamrock Rovers are relishing us coming up tomorrow after winning the other night. We would expect they would see this as a massive opportunity but we have to focus on ourselves and on giving a high level of performance like we have done for the last couple of weeks.”
SSE Airtricity League Premier Division: Bohemians v Waterford, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm; Dundalk v St. Patrick’s Athletic, Oriel Park, 7.45pm; Limerick v Derry City, Markets Field, 7.45pm; Sligo Rovers v Bray Wanderers, The Showgrounds, 7.45pm; Shamrock Rovers v Cork City, Tallaght Stadium, 8pm.
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