PROMOTION-CHASING Cobh Ramblers have a score to settle with Dublin visitors Cabinteely at St Colman’s Park on Friday night and will look for revenge for that 4-1 defeat they suffered up at Stradbrook at the end of March.
Manager Stephen Henderson wants his young colts to get back to winning ways here despite one or two injury issues and a one-match suspension that keeps club captain Chris ‘Kaka’ McCarthy out of this First Division action.
Ramblers went down 2-1 to an under investigation Athlone Town last weekend, a result that saw the claret-and-blues go from top spot to third overnight and ‘Hendo’ is hoping for a marked improvement.
"The result was disappointing. We didn't handle it well, we didn't pass the ball well, we didn't play well. I think we only had one shot in the whole game, and that went in the net. It was a terrible day at the office, so we have to have a look and try and find a few answers tonight.
"The squad are young lads. I think the world of this group of players, they're exceptionally hard working. But there's a reason we got to the top of the table in the first place. It's not because we're superstars. It's because we're a hard working bunch, who have a lot of respect for each other and we work hard for each other, and we play the game in a certain way,” he added.
"When we go away from the way of playing, we get ourselves into trouble. And we did that against Athlone. So we're going to have to sort it tonight. I do believe we can win this league. I do believe once our heads are together, and we stick to the game plan, we can win this division,” said Henderson who is missing centre-half Cian Kingston with an ankle injury.
Fellow defender Ryan Hogan is out with a knee problem and midfield ace Karl Caulfield with a quad muscle injury.
Cabinteely will be reasonably confident after that 4-1 win earlier in the season, and Henderson is aware of just how dangerous a side they are - but there's some extra motivation too for Ramblers going into the game.
"If we win against Cabinteely, or even draw, that's a whole year of going unbeaten at home in the league. And that would be a fantastic record for Cobh Ramblers, for the players, to go a whole year unbeaten in the league at St Colman’s Park.
"So let's try and get that record. Let's try and get that passion that we have for the game back. Let's get back to the manner of playing that has brought us success,” vowed Henderson whose side are two points behind the First Division leaders Waterford and a point adrift of second-placed UCD after 11 games.
The game is being played tonight instead of Ramblers' usual Saturday evening slot but with good reason.
It’s because of Cobh Wanderers' first ever FAI Intermediate Cup final appearance at the Aviva Stadium tomorrow (3pm) as they take on Dublin-based Liffey Wanderers. And Henderson is backing Wanderers to bring the Cup back to the harbour town and Great Island.
"They deserve all the support they can get. Wanderers have been exceptional this year, Michael Deasy has done a fantastic job. They've a lot of former Cobh Ramblers players there, lots of local lads. We're playing tonight so we can all go up to Dublin and support them.
But we have to focus on tonight’s game first. And let's try and get this Athlone result out of our system and get back to winning ways as fast as we can," he added.
On the team news front, Caulfield (quad muscle) and Kingston (ankle) both miss out, while skipper Chris McCarthy's red card at Athlone means he's suspended this evening.
Cobh’s next league action is away to UCD at the UCD Bowl on this night week, May 19.