CORK CITY manager John Caulfield expects a physical approach from Dundalk in Friday night’s SSE Airtricity League Premier Division clash at Oriel Park.
The league champions came from 2-0 down to win 4-2 in last month’s President’s Cup in Louth, but Caulfield doesn’t think this league meeting will be as open.
“I think you’ll see them go back to basics,” he said.
“[Brian] Gartland hasn’t played, last Sunday was his first game back, so he’ll come straight back into the team. [Stephen] O’Donnell played last week, another guy you’d expect to come back.
“[Patrick] Hoban came on that day and has more games under his belt, I suppose they’ll be a more physical, stronger team than they were that day, so we’d expect that.”
While Dundalk reinforced their squad in the off-season with players like Lithuanian Karolis Chvedukas and Krisztian Adorjan from Hungary, Caulfield thinks that Lilywhites manager Stephen Kenny will go with the tried and trusted.
“I think their starting 11 will be very familiar,” he said.
“Hoban has been there before, [Ronan] Murray is in our league since last year, all the rest are guys who have been with them for the last number of years.
“I think a lot of the foreign guys won’t play, he likes to stick to a lot of the guys he has known with a while.
“At the same time, they haven’t conceded, they’ve had three games, they’re unbeaten. It’s early days but they got eight goals the last day, they feel that they’re right back on track and everything is to play for now, which it is.
“From our point of well, we’ve started well, just a little bit better than they have. We have to show confidence again going in, it’s going to be an incredibly tough game, it always is up there.
“Nothing but a top performance by us will get us the result.”
The game will be City’s first since the 4-1 win away to Sligo Rovers nine days ago, and Caulfield feels that the rest will have served them well.
“It was good in some ways, believe it or not,” he said.
“Since the season started, we’ve gone from the President’s Cup on a Sunday, Friday, Friday, Monday, there was a bit of an overload when you get that early in the season.
“Being honest, the few days off were welcome because it gave guys a chance to recover a bit more. It probably dragged on a bit but the thing was that everybody was affected.”