Five Premier Division games without a win isn’t a Cork City record under John Caulfield – in fact, they went six without victory towards the end of the 2017 double-winning season.
However, four losses and a draw since the win over Bohemians in March, the most recent reversal against Waterford on Friday, leave the Rebel Army with just 11 points from 11 games. A change is needed and fast, with the manager left counting the cost of things going against them.
“You have to create your own luck,” he said.
“You look at the last three games, we make a mistake in the last minute against Pat’s, lose two points, one of our senior players made a mistake.
“On Monday night, again we made a mistake, another one of our senior players, these things happen and against Waterford the goal takes a deflection.
“Things aren’t running but you have to make your own luck. At the moment, we’re probably not creating enough and when we do create chances we’re not taking them.
“That’s frustrating but there’s no hiding place and no easy way out. You just have to get your head down and get your form back.” There were bright spots on Friday, but mainly in the first half, with City coming closest when Garry Buckley had a goal ruled out for offside.
“I thought in the first half we were quite good,” Caulfield said, “we played well, we passed the ball well, we were lively and sharp.
“It was still a tight match, obviously there was a chance where Graham had a volley from eight or ten yards out and Matt Connor saved it, Bucks taps in the rebound and he’s flagged for offside.
“It was a great chance but, at the moment, we’re not scoring goals and in the second half they were a bit better, there wasn’t much in the game but Shane Duggan took a shot, it took a deflection off Dan Casey and deceived Mark.
“Unfortunately, that’s just the way it’s going at the moment.” Had the goal gone in in the first half, Caulfield feels it would have been a trigger to kick on.
“I think absolutely,” he said.
“You look at their workrate and their energy levels, but at the moment we’re just down on confidence and we’re not scoring goals.
“It’s just difficult and when you’ve a new team, a new back four, young [Darragh] Crowley up top, 18 years of age, we’re in transition but every game in this league is tough, there’s no mercy for everyone.
“Our confidence is down a little bit at the moment but we have to work to see if we can rectify it on Monday.” The win over Bohemians on March 15 was also the game where City lost Dáire O’Connor to a dislocated shoulder. The creative midfielder was used as a sub on Friday night, with Caulfield optimistic that his return will be a boon.
“You’d hope he would be back Monday but it’s about him easing him in,” he said.
“He’s been off a while, probably, medically, he needs another couple of weeks but he got some game-time and thankfully he’ll be on the way back and so will Shepp [Karl Sheppard].
“You look at it and there were four, five, six players missing on Friday. Garry Comerford will be back in for Monday after suspension, Benno [Alan Bennett] is touch and go, Shepp I’m not sure about, Colm Horgan, no.
“There are senior players that are out and we could certainly do with them, there’s no doubt about that. We have to get back out and get going on Monday and do everything we can to get a result.” Sligo, whom City beat 2-1 at the Showgrounds at the end of February, also have 11 points, adding to the importance of victory.
“Every game is tough,” Caulfield said.
“It’s still early in the table, you could lose a few, which we are, and all of a sudden you could turn around and win three or four, you’d be right back in there.
“From that point of view, it’s a matter where we’re not doing well, we’re at home Monday, hopefully we’ll get a passionate crowd and we can deliver a performance to get the three points and see if we can kick on from that.”