WITH more fitness miles under the belt, Cork City manager John Caulfield took a lot of positives from his side's 1-1 draw at the Mardyke.
“The weather is really poor at the moment but the Mardyke pitch is great,” he said. “Obviously, there’s a lot of win and rain but it was another workout and a chance to give guys game-time.
“We had a number of chances, didn’t take them, but to be fair UCC battled well. They’re at a high fitness level a few weeks from the Collingwood and it meant our lads had to work hard so we’re delighted with that.”
Apart from Ireland U21 international Danny Kane – whose signing is set to be confirmed before the end of the week – the only non-contracted player on show was Omar Jaber, but Caulfield said that he was never a viable prospect.
“No, he’s going back,” he said.
“To be fair to him, he was never really on trial, he was just here to experience our culture. He was invited for a week but it wasn’t really a trial.”
Another trialist from last week not to have made the cut was goalkeeper Jacob Marsden, with Caulfield having managed to sign former Dundalk and Bray Wanderers netminder Peter Cherrie.
The 2014 League of Ireland medallist is seen as the perfect candidate to provide competition for Mark McNulty.
“Obviously, Alan Smith is out for a while and we need a keeper, we’ve tried a few,” Caulfield said.
“Peter has a lot of experience, he’s a league winner with Dundalk and played in this league for a number of years.
“We need him to challenge Nults but more importantly he feels he can be number 1 and now we have two guys who are exceptional keepers, it’s great competition and it’s what we need in the team.
“We’ve had other guys in but when the opportunity came to sign someone like Peter, it was a no-brainer. He’s moving down at the weekend and we’re all very happy with that.”
City play Finn Harps in Abbotstown on Saturday – though supporters are reminded that the game takes place behind closed doors – with Tobi Adebayo Rowling missing out as the injury suffered against Cobh Ramblers will keep him on the sidelines for two weeks.
Otherwise, the only other player unavailable is club captain John Dunleavy, but Caulfield has been impressed with his recovery from a knee injury.
“Johnny is back running and it’s great for him,” he said, “he’s like a miracle man the way he comes back and defies all the odds.
“To be fair to him, we have to be careful. After such a serious injury, we’re not going to rush him. The plan in the bigger picture is that by the end of March, start of April, we’d hope that he’d be fully back in with us then.”