AFTER a hectic week off the field for Cork City, attention turns back to on-pitch matters and the pressing need to avoid relegation from the Premier Division.
City, without a win in six games in all competitions – five of those in the league – go to Dalymount Park seeking to take points from second-placed Bohemians before a home clash with Dundalk on Tuesday night.
They will do so under the management of Colin Healy, who has been appointed as the interim replacement for Neale Fenn, who departed as boss late on Wednesday night.
With City two points behind second-from-bottom Finn Harps, the opportunities to get out of the danger zone and receding. Speaking at Tuesday’s regular press-conference, Fenn spoke of the need to carry form from the training ground to the pitch.
“It’s been good,” he said when asked about the response to last Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to St Patrick’s Athletic, “but, like I said to them after the game and this week, training’s always good.
“That’s never been a problem, it’s translating good training sessions and doing the right things in training on to the pitch on Saturday or Friday, when someone’s trying to take the ball from you or someone’s prepared to work harder than you or someone’s prepared to run further than you are.
“That’s the difficult part at the moment, translating good training sessions, good shape, good organisation, everyone buying into what we’re going to do, translating that into a game, where they’ve got opponents.”
There is at least a fairly clean bill of health, although City will be without winger Dáire O’Connor, who left the club during the week. Central defender Joseph Olowu, right-back Uniss Kargbo and midfielder Cory Galvin have all returned in recent weeks after injuries while teenage striker Kit Elliott is also back.
The on-loan attack from Huddersfield Town is keen to help the team bounce back from the disappointing Pat’s performance.
“We had a few meetings this week,” he said, “after the game last week because we knew it wasn’t our best performance as a team.
“We’ve had to regroup and we’ve been working really hard in training, just to correct the mistakes that we made.
“We knew it wasn’t good enough and need to improve for the next match on Friday.” Elliott knows that it won’t be easy to turn things around but he does at least have the advantage of being involved in the last win, the 3-0 triumph against Sligo Rovers in August.
“It’s a difficult situation, obviously, when we’re in the position we’re in,” he said.
“Personally, I just need to keep working hard and help the team move up the table.
“All of us, we know that we need to rally together because it’s going to be a big five matches now. We’ve got to get as many points as possible.
“It would be nice to get back to get back to the levels of the game against Sligo. It’s going to be difficult and we know it’s going to be a challenge, but we’re confident that we can get through this and pick up wins in our next matches.”
Elliott scored against Sligo but it looked as if his time on Leeside was over after that one match when he suffered a knee injury. Thankfully, it wasn’t as serious as first feared.
“I was devastated after the game,” he said.
“I had a scan and they said that it would be six weeks minimum until I could play again.
“I went and had another scan and spoke to the specialist back in Huddersfield. They said that if it didn’t swell up, then I could play.
“I was just working hard in the gym, making sure I was fit to come back. I’m happy to be back here and hopefully we can push on now, all of us together.” Against Sligo, Elliott was up front in a 3-5-2 alongside Scott Fenwick while the last two games have seen him as a lone striker.
“To be honest, I don’t really mind as long as I get a lot of the ball!” he laughed.
“In the Sligo game, I was getting on it a lot, whereas in the last two games it has been a bit more scrappy.
“It’s whatever the team needs, I’ll do.”