Cork City have no fears about skipper Conor McCormack keeping cool in the white-hot atmosphere of Oriel Park on Friday night.
The season will spark back to life after the mid-season break with a meeting of the League of Ireland’s ‘New Firm’ at Oriel Park on Friday night (7.35pm, live on RTÉ2).
The champions go to the home of their bitter rivals one point clear at the top of the SSE Airtricity Premier Division.
Cork were beaten 1-0 on their trip to Oriel Park earlier this season, a game in which City boss John Caulfield said afterwards he felt his captain was “targeted” by the Dundalk players.
McCormack was booked early in that encounter and was taken out of the action by his manager after just 21 minutes.
However, City assistant manager John Cotter yesterday said he has no worries about the Carlingford man losing focus this weekend.
“Maybe John has spoken to Conor before, I don’t know, but Conor’s an experienced player and he knows better than anyone,” said Cotter yesterday.
“Sometimes you don’t need to tell players, you know yourself if you’ve messed up — not saying he messed up that night — but sometimes you don’t need to address these things with players. It’s a motivation for themselves.
Defeat in March at Oriel Park saw Cork’s unbeaten start to the season come to a shuddering halt.
“We didn’t play well that night, no-one needs to tell us that,” said Cotter. “Hopefully we rectify that now. We have a decent record up there, and if we play to our abilities, we’ll be alright.”
City returned the favour to Stephen Kenny’s men with a 1-0 win at Turner’s Cross in April thanks to a Gearóid Morrissey effort, and while bookmakers rate Dundalk as strong favourites, there is likely to be very little between these sides again on Friday.
Indeed Cotter believes the rivalry between the sides continues to raise standards.
City will give late fitness tests to Alan Bennett, Stephen Beattie, and Karl Sheppard.
Meanwhile the FAI has confirmed the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division fixture between Bray Wanderers and Sligo Rovers has been rescheduled from July 6 to July 8 at the Carlisle Grounds, 4pm.
A number of friendlies involving SSE Airtricity League and non-league clubs have also been confirmed.
Schedule: 02/07 - Cork City v Portsmouth, Turner’s Cross, 7pm; 07/07 - Shamrock Rovers v Celtic, Tallaght Stadium, 3pm; 08/07 - Shelbourne v Cliftonville, Tolka Park, 2pm; 09/07 - Portmarnock v Oxford United, Paddy’s Hill, 7pm; 10/07 - Longford Town v Oxford United, City Calling Stadium, 7.45pm; 11/07 - UCD. v Oxford United, UCD Bowl, 6.45pm; 13/07 - Cork City XI v Burnley, Turner’s Cross, 7.45pm; 17/07 - Cobh Ramblers v Preston, St. Colman’s Park, 7pm; 17/07 - St. Patrick’s Athletic v Newcastle United, Richmond Park, 7.45pm
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