John Caulfield has no intention of simply defending Cork City’s away-goal advantage in tonight’s Europa League first round second leg clash against Linfield.
“There’s still a lot of work to be done,” Caulfield stressed. “The game is still very much in the balance. They play very direct, with a 4-4-2 and play the ball long down the channels, with young Smith getting in behind. They play a lot of set-pieces, you could see every dead ball they got in our half the delivery was good, and we’d expect a lot more of that tomorrow.
“I think you’ve just got to go out and attack, you can’t approach it any other way. We did the same in Belfast because we felt we could win the match, and tomorrow night I don’t see any difference. You’d be foolish to go out and sit back, and our plan is to go out and score early.”
Caulfield is sweating on the fitness of stand-in right-full Steven Beattie, as well as talismanic midfielder Greg Bolger, and Karl Sheppard.
Caulfield did have some good news in the shape of Michael McSweeney’s recovery; the defender is back in the fold for what would be his second-ever European tie.
And Beattie remains confident of his own chances of making tonight’s line-up. Usually a right-winger, Beattie was pushed into a defensive role due to the long injury-list, and is making the best of the unfamiliar position.
“I like to get on the ball, no matter what area I am, and even Nults (Mark McNulty) said to me that it gives him an extra bit of confidence knowing that someone always wants the ball.
“They could come from my side or the other side, the main thing is that we defend set-pieces properly, if we do that, we’ll get a good result.”
A win tonight would make it only the second time the Leesiders have triumphed in both legs of a European tie in their history, the other coming against Sweden’s Malmo (3-1 and 0-1) in 2004.
And it would expunge the ghosts of last year’s disappointment against Iceland’s KR, when City again held an away goal advantage early on in the second leg, but let it slip. Beattie says that disappointment has been an ongoing theme this week.
“The boys have been speaking about it, it definitely left a sour taste in the mouth and that’s added motivation, especially for lads who played in that game and tasted that defeat. They went out in a harsh fashion and (neither) they or the fans want it to happen again.”
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