APART from long-term injury absentee John Dunleavy, Cork City manager John Caulfield expects to have a near full-strength squad for Friday’s trip to face Derry City.
The Premier Division leaders were without groin victims Shane Griffin and Gearóid Morrissey as they came from behind to beat Limerick on Saturday, but Caulfield hopes to have the pair available to him.
“Shane Griffin is close to returning,” he said.
“Johnny Dunleavy isn’t ready yet, but he’s back in with us, which is good. Gearóid Morrissey is back in as well and Alan Bennett, obviously, had his first game in two months.
“It was a hard game, he didn’t train this morning but he’ll be back in. Other than that, I’d hope that we’d nearly have a full squad to choose from.” Fourth-placed Derry are back in the renovated Brandywell this season, with a 4G pitch having replaced grass. City are training on an all-weather surface at CIT this week as preparation, but Caulfield isn’t a fan of it.
“We did today [Tuesday] and we will tomorrow [Wednesday],” he said, “just to get used to the bounce of the ball.
“It’s fantastic that Derry are gone back to the Brandywell, I always loved going there and I felt that Derry and Cork are similar in lots of ways. It’s disappointing that it’s an all-weather pitch because, no matter what people say, it’s a totally different game on all-weather compared to grass. That’ll never change.
“They’ve a very good home record, they’re unbeaten and have scored lots of goals and they have a dynamic team, a lot of wise heads and talented players.
“They’ve put themselves right up there to challenge for the league title, so we know it’s going to be an extremely difficult game but, at the same time, we’re probably going up there with more or less a full squad.”