WHILE the tests faced haven’t pushed them to their limits, Cork City have adapted well to the switch to a new system.
In pre-season, manager John Caulfield has opted for a three-man defence and Friday night’s 6-0 win over the Kerry District League made it six wins in a row.
Graham Cummins got four in the win in Tralee, with trialist Liam Nash made it three goals in two games and Dáire O’Connor also netted.
One of City’s new signings, defender Dan Casey, is happy with the 3-4-3 formation and the former Sunderland and Bohemians man believes that the change could be key in helping the Rebel Army challenge Dundalk for honours in the coming season.
“It’s a system I played in England a bit,” he says, “I like it a lot.
“I think the team is well-structured for it, we have players who can play in different positions.
“I know the opponents we’ve played have been a level below what we’ll face in the league, but possession-wise we can keep the ball well, we can attack and defensively we’re quite solid.
“It makes use of the full width of the pitch and we have the players for that as well. When you look at how strong Dundalk are, we might have to try something different to try to beat them.
“Obviously, they’re very strong and other teams are rebuilding, I think this could be a good way of going at it. John knows best, so whatever he tries, we’ll have to go with.”
City face Longford Town in a friendly at Turner’s Cross this Saturday (2pm) before the President’s Cup at home to Dublin seven days later.
It’s a challenge that Dubliner Casey is looking forward to facing.
“It is a big test,” he says. “It’s a game that we want to win but at the same time it’s not going to make or break the season.
“It would definitely be a good start to the season if we went on and won.
"I just think it’s a big game and we have to go on and play that game, we want to win it and then we’ll go on to Pat’s after that.”
Along with Alan Bennett, Seán McLoughlin, Aaron Barry and Conor McCarthy, Casey gives Caulfield strong options for the three defensive positions.
Upon signing, Casey himself had a few options when kitman Mick Ring asked him which squad number he wanted to wear.
Casey wore 4 at Bohs last season but McLoughlin had taken that and so the Chelsea fan opted for 26 – which was of course worn for the Blues by long-time captain John Terry.
“Mick offered me a couple of numbers and obviously I was a fan of John Terry, I thought he was a great footballer,” he says. "I don’t think that’s the reason, I did look at it but it wasn’t the main factor!
"If I have half the career he had, I’d be doing alright.”