Unbeaten City face toughest trek yet away to Derry

Unbeaten City face toughest trek yet away to Derry
Cork City's Ryan Delaney. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

CORK City face one of the toughest tests, and certainly longest trips, in their bid for league glory on Friday night.

City are unbeaten in 18 Premier Division games to date this season, with 17 wins keeping them an impressive 18 points clear of rivals and champions Dundalk. However that won't make it any easier against Derry, who are actually hosting John Caulfield's charges in Donegal, in their temporary home of Maginn Park.

Buncrana is most likely an even longer trek than the usual to the Brandywell, currently being renovated and out of action, but it's nothing compared to the 6,500-plus kilometer round-trip to Estonia the Rebel Army will undertake next week for the Europa League.

City are away in the Europe next Thursday, where a positive result will draw a sell-out crowd to Turner's Cross on July 6 against Levadia Tallinn.

A huge boost yesterday was the news that Ryan Delaney will be staying with the club until the end of 2017 at least, as his loan deal from Burton Albion extended in timely fashion after it was confirmed club captain John Dunleavy could likely miss the rest of the season through injury.

Delaney is passed fit ahead of the game against a Candystripe side that saw their impressive unbeaten run come to an end last Friday evening against Bray Wanderers, and know they have a major task if they are to update an unbeaten Cork City.

The Rebel Army have dropped just two points away from home, the only pair that have evaded them in a remarkable season for Caulfield’s men, even without a consistent centre-back pairing as Alan Bennett again faces an assessment ahead of tonight.

However, the City boss is refusing to take the pressure off his players, insisting his side will keep their eye on the ball this evening or face dropping further points ahead of a crucial away leg in Pärnu next week.

“It was very pleasing to come back from the break and put in such a good performance last week” admitted the City manager. 

“As I keep saying, if we play at the level that we have been doing, then I think that we will be happy, but if we don’t, we will drop points.”

Keeping up the league momentum will be another challenge for the club, as they struggled in their post-Europa League games last year, effectively costing them the title.

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