Kevin O’Connor and Stephen Dooley are both doubts for Cork City’s Europa League rescue mission against AEK Larnaca in Cyprus tomorrow night.
The pair missed the SSE Airtricity Premier Division 2-0 win over Bray Wanderers on Sunday and City assistant manager John Cotter said the pair are “probably 50/50” to start at the AEK Arena tomorrow (6pm Irish time, live on eirSport).
Trailing 1-0 from the second qualifying round first leg at Turner’s Cross, John Caulfield’s side will have to pull out an unlikely win, in searing heat, to keep this season’s European campaign alive. Cotter admitted the end of their unbeaten run last Thursday was “strange”, but is bullish about their chances of pulling the tie out of the fire in Cyprus.
“You’ve nothing to lose. The heat is going to be a factor but we just have to deal with it and not get bogged down.
“We’ve got a great squad, we mixed it up again against Bray. It’s up to the players to carry it on and I’ve no doubt that they will.”
Cotter says the days of just being happy to be in Europe are long gone for the top League of Ireland sides. “I can remember years ago, even when I was a young lad coming through, you were trying to keep the score down as such.
“Now you’re going out, competing, and coming off disappointed if you lose 1-0.”
City flew to Larnaca via London yesterday morning, arriving in Cyprus last night for Thursday’s match, which will be the final outing for striker Seanie Maguire and — if fit — O’Connor, before the pair make their move to Preston North End in the English Championship.
Cotter says management aren’t worried about Maguire or O’Connor being affected by the emotion of the occasion. “I don’t think that has bothered the boys one bit.
Seanie has got better since he got his move. That’s a credit to them. They’ve been brilliant.”
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