AT THIS crucial stage in the league there is no margin for error as Cork City continue their bid for Premier Division survival.
With only two games remaining, away to Sligo today and at home to Derry on October 30, six points are vital, though they may not be enough.
City prop up the table with 10 points; Finn Harps are just above them on 11 with two games in hand.
City travel to the Showgrounds, which is never an easy place to go to. However, I am hoping from their previous two performances, against Dundalk and Waterford, Colin Healy’s side will have gained more confidence and belief in themselves to get three points tomorrow.
They know they need to.
If they lose and Harps win, City are relegated. It’s that simple. Win or bust.
The last time these sides met was in August at Turner’s Cross with the home side winning 3-0, thanks to goals from Deshane Dalling, Kit Elliot, and Ricardo Dinanga.
It was Cork’s second win of the season and, two months on, we can say it was their biggest win of the season.
Sligo have a great manager in Liam Buckley and with his side still not out of danger, I expect him to have his players fired up for this game and City need to be prepared.
Under Colin Healy, this City team seems a little bit more organised, which is great.
City looked more composed and solid at the back; their midfielders are being a bit more creative and attack-minded, which they need more than ever, and probably lacked for a while.
Healy has said that the lads have been brilliant with their attitude and work-rate, and performances at training have been getter better with every session.
This is evident in how they’re playing. They were unlucky not to beat Waterford and, maybe, a rub of the green was all they needed.
The main thing for me since Healy has arrived is that the players seem to be playing with more confidence.
It shows that Healy believes in them and we have seen this through his many changes. In his first two games in charge he made five changes to each of the starting XI.
Youngsters like Jake O’Brien is growing in stature and looks more confident every time we see him in the backline.
No doubt he is learning a lot from Alan Bennett who I would imagine is a massive help to the youngster.
Alec Byrne is back in the team and I am delighted to see this because he is an exciting player who has a fantastic engine and is equally impressive breaking down play as he is when attacking.
Cian Coleman has recovered from earlier mishaps, and although he is a player who always gives 100% and would cover every blade of grass, now he is doing it with purpose.
Gearóid Morrissey has a big impact when he is in the game and City will need him to be involved a lot tomorrow.
Liam Bossin in goal has done well of late, especially against Waterford where he made two great saves late on.
Although I am hoping he won’t be called into action much tomorrow, I have confidence that he can do well.
So defensively, City aren’t looking too bad, but most importantly tomorrow, City need goals.
We have seen how good Dalling can be. He does everything right, but just lacks that little support in the final third.
Cory Galvin is another player who excites on the pitch and I would expect him to feature today.
Although Scott Fenwick and Conor Simpson have left the club, there are no other players out of the squad this week; no injury worries, so let’s pray yet again for that all-important win.