ALAN BENNETT and Garry Buckley will face fitness tests ahead of Cork City’s Premier Division clash with Shamrock Rovers at Turner’s Cross on Monday night (7.45pm).
Centre-back Bennett missed Friday’s defeat away to Dundalk with Conor McCarthy deputising while Buckley was substituted in the second half. Caulfield revealed that both are doubts for the visit of the Hoops though goalkeeper Mark McNulty, who received treatment during the 1-0 defeat, should be passed fit.
“It’s a quick turnaround and obviously we’re assessing Alan Bennett and Garry Buckley,” he said.
“Mark has a small bit of a knock but we’d imagine he’ll come through. We have some niggles but obviously everybody wants to play.” Barry McNamee, who had had flu last week and didn’t start Friday’s loss to Dundalk as a result, is fully fit again.
Friday’s game was City’s first defeat to Dundalk in eight but Caulfield expects a strong response.
“It was very disappointing and everyone was really disappointed with the performance,” he said.
“We went into the game knowing that Dundalk have been a lot more direct and knowing that the atmosphere was going to be hostile but for some reason we didn’t deal with it in the first 20 or 25 minutes.
“When you give away a soft goal, it’s difficult and there was a lot of pressure on the ref as well.
“The lads aren’t happy with the way the game went but overall this group have been phenomenal over the last couple of years, even the new players who have come in have been phenomenal.
“They’re all disappointed but when you lose like that you have to take the criticism and come back again stronger. That’s what it’s all about.”
The short break will be tricky to negotiate, Caulfield admitted.
“It’s difficult because you’re going from an all-weather pitch and you’re after a long journey,” he said.
“The lads themselves feel that they didn’t do enough on the pitch and hopefully we’ll see a totally different performance. I would appeal for a massive crowd, Rovers are title contenders, it’s unusual to be playing two teams like that back-to-back.
“We need a passionate and hostile atmosphere and we need to play well.”