SATURDAY: SSE Airtricity League Premier Division: Cork City v Waterford, Turner’s Cross, 5pm.
WITH just three games remaining, it’s imperative for Cork City to pick up points as they battle against relegation but interim manager Colin Healy remains bullish that the Rebel Army can avoid the drop.
Tuesday night’s 2-0 loss at home to Dundalk means that City have now eight games without a win but there was at least a noticeable improvement compared to the 3-0 defeat away to Bohemians on Friday night.
Visitors Waterford are in fourth place while City are two points behind Finn Harps with a game more played. Healy hasn’t lost faith, though.
“I am confident of staying up,” he said.
“We have good players and they’re hurting after the Dundalk game. That shows me that they care about the club.
“We all do here. We all want what’s best for the club. We’ll get ready for Waterford now because it is a big, big game.
“When you get a knock back, you have to keep going. If you get knocked down and say, ‘That’s enough for me,’ you won’t go far. You keep getting back up and you keep working hard.
“Results will change.”
Patrick Hoban’s goals in the 73rd and 75th minutes were the difference on Tuesday but, prior to that, City had competed well and showed good positional discipline.
“We worked on it since the Bohs game,” Healy said.
“We had that extra two days, we worked on it with the lads and they took the messages on board. We’re only in the door but we need results and fast.
“It’s never nice to lose but we always knew it was going to be difficult. I thought we had a good shape to us, the lads worked hard.
“We had a gameplan and the players did what we asked of them but we gave away two soft goals. We had defended well up to that point.
“What I learned as a player is that you give everything and can’t have any excuses. For me, as a Corkman, when you put on that jersey you have to be willing to run through walls and give everything.”
However, while City were able to soak up much of the Dundalk pressure before the first goal, opportunities at the other end were at a premium. Fifteen games in the league have seen City score just eight times but Healy is wise enough to know that he can’t just go gung-ho against strong opposition.
“I wasn’t going to play two up top against them,” he said.
“I’ve been around long enough, the plan was to be compact and see if we could hit them on the break.
“It was working for 60 or 70 minutes but then they got the goal and it was very difficult after that.
“We have to focus on Waterford. We’re going to come back in and analyse Waterford. It is a very important game and we going to get the lads ready.
“Since I came in, all I ask is the players give everything they got. We’ll see where that takes us.”
Goalkeeper Mark McNulty missed out on Tuesday due to a back injury but could come back into contention. Otherwise, there is a full squad while Healy also benefits from having former assistant manager John Cotter on board again.
“I brought him in, I brought Richie Holland in and David Moore as well. It was my decision to bring Cotts back.
“He’s been around here the last five or six years and he’s a very talented coach who knows the league inside and out. It’s good to have good people around.”