REPUBLIC of Ireland U21 international Danny Kane is set to make his competitive debut as Cork City take on Waterford in the first of two games in five days.
City travel east for the EA Sports Cup tie and again on Friday in the Premier Division. Kane, who played for Ireland against Iceland and Azerbaijan in the past week and a half, will be one of those given a chance and manager John Caulfield is confident that the former Huddersfield Town man can impress.
“It’s a good opportunity for Danny,” he says.
“The important thing for him was that he was with the Irish U21s and got the two games under his belt.
“He had done really well in pre-season and picked up a knock at the start of the season, but this will be his third game in two games, which is good.
“It’ll be nice to see him because we have a few defenders, it’ll be a bit like Seán McLoughlin not being in four or five weeks ago but he has done well and it’s an opportunity for Danny to come in.
“He’s at match fitness and that’s what we want.”
Steven Beattie, who has been out since the league defeat to Dundalk, will return, while Alan Bennett, who last played against Sligo Rovers at the end of February, will be assessed.
One player who won’t feature is left-back Shane Griffin, however.
“He has a bit of a tight groin and hamstring,” Caulfield says.
“The main is that, regarding playing conditions, we’re still coming out of winter and we’ve had incredible weather over the last few weeks, so the ground is still very heavy.
“It’s one of those things that we won’t risk him because the league is Friday and we have another massive game. At the same time, we have a lot of players who are capable of coming in and we’re all looking forward to that.” Caulfield expects the fringe players to strongly make their cases, though.
“It’s one of those ones where you have to put the competition in terms of the context where it is,” he says.
“The league’s number one and the FAI Cup’s number two, Europe is huge amongst that and the league cup is a competition you’d love to win but at the same time you have to give guys game-time.
“You have to give them the chance to show what they can do because we go into a very hectic period from the start of May up to the end of June.
“You have to keep guys on the edge and make sure they’re ready, so it’s one of those where you’ve no choice but to make a lot of changes. The good thing now is that we’ve much more strength in depth than we would have had a few years ago.”