CORK City have been boosted by the news that striker Kit Elliott has returned to the club.
The 19-year-old attacker had joined the Rebel Army from Huddersfield Town at the end of July and scored one goal and assisted another in his first appearance, the 3-0 win over Sligo Rovers in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division in August.
However, an injury forced him off late in that game and the initial prognosis on that was that it would keep him out for the remainder of the domestic league season, effectively ending his stay on Leeside.
“He injured his knee in the Sligo game, which was really unfortunate,” said City manager Neale Fenn at the end of August.
“I thought he did really well against Sligo but he’s going to be out for six to eight weeks.
“By the time he’ll be back, the season will be done, so Huddersfield want him back treated and to try to get fit.”
Thankfully, the extent of the damage wasn’t as bad as first feared and he has returned to Cork and could feature in Friday’s crucial league clash away to Finn Harps (5pm).
City go into that match a point behind the Donegal side, who drew 1-1 with Shelbourne on Saturday evening, though the postponement of the clash with Dundalk — scheduled for Sunday evening — means that City do have a game in hand.
Half of City’s six goals to date came in that win over Sligo, with their only strike before the Covid-19 lockdown being Alec Byrne’s winner when Harps came to Turner’s Cross at the end of February. Since then, their other league goals apart from the win over the Bit O’Red came in the 3-1 loss at Derry City (Joseph Olowu) and the 1-1 draw at Shelbourne (Deshane Dalling).
The other English strikers signed at the same time as Elliott, Scott Fenwick and Connor Simpson, are waiting for their first goals in the City colours. Only St Patrick’s Athletic, also on six goals, have been as goal-shy, with City’s tally of 19 goals against leaving them with the worst goal-difference.
There is a consolation of sorts in that City haven’t lost to Harps since the Donegal side were promoted at the end of 2015. In the 11 league games since (Harps were relegated in 2017 and came straight back up), City have won eight and drawn three, through all of the ties came in 2019 after the 4-3 win in Ballybofey earlier in the season, when Gearóid Morrissey scored two wonderful goals.
It is imperative for City that that run continues and that, at the very least, the current one-point gap isn’t allowed to expand.