DEFENDERS Alan Bennett and Steven Beattie are both rated as 50-50 fitness-wise for Cork City’s trip to face Limerick tonight (7.45pm), according to manager John Caulfield.
The pair missed Monday night’s win over Shamrock Rovers – Bennett was also absent from the defeat at Dundalk last week and Caulfield revealed that they, and midfielder Garry Buckley will undergo fitness tests today.
“We’re assessing Benno and we’re assessing Steven Beattie, both are 50-50,” he said.
“Garry Buckley is sick, so we’ll assess him in the morning. Josh O’Hanlon has a knock and that’s really where we’re at. We had a match the other night against UCC, a few of the lads played. He’s a bit tight, so we just have to be careful with the ground being so heavy.
“All of the guys who played the other night, they seem to be okay.”
On Monday, Conor McCarthy played at right-back with Seán McLoughlin at centre-back. Caulfield praised the newcomers for settling in well to the defence but acknowledged that the game at Markets Field will be a different kind of test.
“The lads did very well,” he said, “it was a big game for Seán.
“We’ve a lot of confidence in him, he’s a fantastic young lad, he has really developed and matured physically over the last six or seven months as well.
“He’s very good on the ball and can play, and Conor, as we know, is another tremendous talent, but when you fellas are coming in, they need to be consistent.
“You don’t have the opportunity to play guys in eight, nine, ten games, just for the sake of giving them game-time – you have to win, so they have to be consistent.
“It’s about playing well one week and making sure your next game is the same. From that point of view, they both did outstandingly on Monday but Friday will be different.”
Limerick come into the game on the back of a 5-0 defeat away to Derry City on Monday, but Caulfield doesn’t expect that a desire to bounce back will see them deviate from their counter-attacking strategy.
“I think they’ll play like I’ve seen them play so far, winning away to Sligo and in the home game against Bohemians,” he said.
“They’ll come out and sit in to play counter-attack, keep their shape and then hit us on the break.
“They have pace breaking from midfield, that’s been their gameplan, I wouldn’t think it’d be one where they throw the kitchen sink at us for the first 15 minutes. They’ll want us to come at them, but whatever way they play and whatever tactics we use, we have to make sure that we’re on our game and that we move the ball quickly and try to create opportunities.”