Cork City boss John Caulfield does not expect to be doing any business in the transfer window at the end of next month because “we have no money”.
The champions, who travel to the Brandywell to face Derry City this evening, invested heavily in their squad in the close season, including former Candystripes duo Barry McNamee and Aaron Barry.
The outlay means with the transfer window starting to appear on the horizon, the Leesiders won’t be loosening the purse strings.
“We’ve no money. We don’t have business investment here — our club is run by the supporters, that’s the way it is,” said Caulfield.
City spent a reputed €40,000 on Kieran Sadlier last season in the transfer window but Caulfield says fans shouldn’t expect a similar outlay this tie around.
“All that happened last year was Sadlier came because we lost Sean Maguire and Kevin O’Connor, so we got money in and we could take a percentage of that. Unless we sell someone, we don’t have money — unless someone moved on or moved out.
“It’s different for Waterford or Dundalk because they are outside investors and they can take that gamble and have that money. We don’t operate that way.”
Meanwhile, Cork defender Alan Bennett admits it was a relief to get back to action in the win over Limerick last weekend, ending seven weeks on the injured list with a calf injury. Admitting the last two months were “extremely frustrating”, they weren’t entirely spent kicking his heels.
“I got into pilates which I quite enjoy, I fall into a few of the OAP classes now,” joked the former Ireland international.
In truth, it was a difficult period for the 36-year old.
“It was very frustrating. It’s probably the first time I’ve mistimed an injury in terms of trying to get back too soon. It just shows when you get old and more experienced, you’re still itching to get back and that takes over and you probably want to come back too soon, and it was too soon.”
“I turned, and it’s one of those things you see happen — you could see it happen to Laurent Koscielny last week (the Arsenal man will miss the World Cup after getting injured against Atletico Madrid). You just turn to push off. Three weeks after that I tried to push off and the same thing happened, so four weeks became seven. It’s extremely frustrating and doesn’t get any easier.”
In his absence, the veteran has seen Cork’s new generation begin to establish themselves in defence, with Conor McCarthy and Sean McLoughlin impressing.
Despite competing for the same positions, Bennett is revelling in the young central defenders’ impressive emergence.
“It reminds me of coming through when Deccie Daly and Derek Coughlan were there,” says Bennett.
As a young fella maybe you felt ‘avoid Deccie in the corridor, stay out of Derek’s way’. You think at the time maybe you’re a bit awkward around them. There’s nothing like that from my side. it’s pure pride. The two of them and Aaron Barry are the future.”
Derry boss Kenny Shiels has refused to be drawn on Ronan Curtis’s availability for tonight’s match, which is likely to be a 3,000-capacity sellout, as he has been linked with a move to Portsmouth.
“Any discussions between Ronan’s representatives and other clubs is out of my hands. I hope he will be here for our European campaign but that’s not up to me,” said Shiels.
Another of tonight’s eye-catching match-ups sees those great foes of yesteryear, Shamrock Rovers and Waterford, renew acquaintance in Tallaght (8pm) at a time when it’s the Blues who have the clear upper hand in the table.
Having already beaten the Hoops 2-1 at the RSC earlier in the season, Waterford sit joint-second with Dundalk, while Rovers, who fell to earth from the high of their 3-0 trouncing of Cork City with a 2-0 defeat to St Pat’s, are 10 points behind tonight’s opponents.
“Waterford are winning games and playing good football,” said Rovers manager Stephen Bradley.
“We know tonight is going to be a tough game. But we’ve been really good at home other than against Bohs. We’ve played well and we’ll be looking to win.”
Joey O’Brien is suspended following his red card against Pat’s while keeper Kevin Horgan is a doubt.
After an experimental Waterford side lost 1-0 to Sligo Rovers in the EA Sports Cup on Tuesday, Dean O’Halloran says tonight sees the start of a run of big games for the team.
“Our main goal is the league and doing well in the league,” O’Hallordan says. “We battled hard and we kept going until the final whistle (against Sligo). We need to concentrate on the league now.”
Waterford will again be without the suspended David Webster while injury rules out Kenny Browne, on-loan Cork defender John Kavanagh and Stanley Aborah.
In tonight’s other Premier Division games, Dundalk are at home to Sligo Rovers, Bray Wanderers host Bohemians, and Limerick entertain St Pat’s.
In the First Division, meanwhile, it’s Athlone v Drogheda, Galway United v UCD, Shelbourne v Finn Harps and Wexford v Longford Town (8pm). Games kick off at 7.45pm unless stated.
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