Cork City will look to bounce back from Friday’s Premier Division defeat to Dundalk as they open their league cup campaign with a home clash against neighbours Cobh Ramblers on Monday at Turner's Cross (7.45pm).
The meeting of the Cork clubs in the Munster Senior Cup semi-final back in February was their first clash at adult level since 2008 and now they renew acquaintance as City manager John Caulfield looks to shuffle his pack.
However, with full-back Colm Horgan’s injury on Friday having added to the list of casualties, there won’t be as many changes as the boss would like.
“The problem we have at the moment is that we have so many players out!” he laughs.
“It’s one of those catch-22 situations where you think you have a squad of 22 or 23, we have four or five out and we’ll have to assess things after Friday.
“We’ll certainly make a good few changes for the Cobh game.” James Tilley does return from suspension but Dan Casey missed the Dundalk game with an ankle problem while Dáire O’Connor is recovering from a dislocated shoulder.
In that regard, Caulfield was keen not to risk the fitness of Garry Comerford, who came on for Horgan in the first half at Oriel Park but was replaced by Alan Bennett at half-time.
“Garry came in off the bench and he hadn’t warmed up properly and he was a bit tight with his hamstring,” he says.
“It was one of those situations where we have a game Monday night and we have a load of injuries, you don’t want a fella out again.
“Colm’s injury is his calf and we’ll have to assess it. Funnily enough, he had been out for a long time since he got injured at Oriel Park last June and he had only come back in the last couple of weeks.
“To get another injury there, it was just one of those things, we don’t know how serious it is, we’ll have to assess it during the week.
“It happened so early in the game and we were without Dan Casey, who pulled out on Thursday, so it was one of those ones where Alan Bennett, to be fair to him, we weren’t going to bring him because he was struggling a bit but he did very well in the second half.
“With [James] Tilley out and [Dáire] O’Connor out, we lacked a bit of positive wing play and we struggled to create chances.” The main mission for City is to have more end-product.
“Colm Horgan going off upset our balance a bit,” Caulfield says, “but at the same time we didn’t play as well as we would have hoped.
“We had worked hard at a lot of things, we didn’t create enough chances. The way we look at it is that we didn’t block the cross for the goal, we gave a soft goal away.
“Up there, it’s always difficult and if you’re chasing a game, 1-0 down, it suits Dundalk but they played well.
“We could have had a penalty at the end, I suppose in modern football now, those decisions seem to be given. Over the 90 minutes, we didn’t create a lot of chances.
“We need to create more chances, we didn’t do that, and we need to pass the ball better. We worked on a lot of things during the week but on Friday night it just didn’t happen.
“At the end of the day, they’re at home and 1-0 up and very good at keeping the ball.
"We didn’t do enough and that’s the bottom line. Graham [Cummins] did very well but we didn’t support him enough and that’s disappointing, these are all things we thought we had rectified.”
Cobh come into the game on the back of a 1-0 loss at Bray Wanderers on Friday night, a result which leaves them in eighth place in the first division. They set up Monday’s clash with a 3-1 home win against Limerick, a game in which Denzil Fernandes, Brian Murphy and Jaze Kabia – son of former City star Jason – all scored.