CORK City manager John Caulfield has challenged Kieran Sadlier to put himself closer to the frame for an international call-up by influencing the remaining months of the season.
City head to Dalymount Park tonight to take on Bohemians in a televised Premier Division clash (kick-off 7.35pm), knowing a win would put them within three points of leaders Dundalk, albeit with a game more played.
Sadlier comes into the game having scored a hat-trick in last week’s 7-0 FAI Cup quarter-final win over Longford Town, but Caulfield is keen to emphasise of just how consistent he needs to be to take his game to the next level.
“I think it [a call-up] is a long way off, to be fair,” he said.
“Seáni Maguire was hammering at the door for a year and was by far the best striker in the league, ultimately he had to get the move before he was called up.
“From that point of view, we have to be careful, one good performance against a first-division club after an indifferent spell doesn’t mean [he’ll be called up].
“We’re in the run-in, if you can over the next two months show consistency, all the games are going to be televised so you’ll get a lot more exposure.
“That’s when you need to perform.”
The three goals at City Calling Stadium comprised the winger’s first hat-trick, a surprise to Caulfield, who hopes he can build on it.
“In his career you would have thought that, with the style of player he is, that he would have got one,” he said.
“Then again, hat-tricks aren’t easy to come by either, but the fantastic about it was that it was a brilliant hat-trick. That game is gone, we’ve a very difficult game coming up, you have to be ready for that.
“It’s a massive game on Friday, I’m sure Bohs will have their work done on him, so the challenge is that he can deliver another top performance for us. We know he has it, because in the first half of the season he was phenomenal.”