THREE more league points is the prime target for Cork City and manager John Caulfield when they face a top of the table collision with defending champions, Dundalk in Friday’s televised clash at Oriel Park.
The Leesiders who beat Dundalk to lift the FAI Cup last November have beaten the defending champions in six of the last seven meetings and another win on Oriel’s new astro-surface will all but end the champions bid to win four in a row.
City have a 15-point cushion at the top of the Premier Division going into Friday’s clash and they have dropped a mere two points in 16 unbeaten games.
Stephen Kenny’s side have had a somewhat stop-start campaign in comparison but they are still the nearest challengers to Cork after Shamrock Rovers scored a 2-0 home win over Bray Wanderers with goals from Brandon Miele and Gary Shaw at Tallaght last night.
"Our focus has been really good. We need to be right for the game, but we're looking forward to it.
"We go into the game with confidence, but at the same time, we know we'll have to give an outstanding performance to take the away points.
"We're going to Dundalk to win the match. There's three points on offer.
"We feel we've a chance of winning so that's what we're focusing on. "That's all we're in control of and we've to make sure we're ready for the battle,” said Caulfield.
"It’s going to be the first time we’ve played on their new plastic pitch.
"Obviously, you'd prefer to play on grass but this is the way it is.
"It's better than the old surface that’s for sure and we will just have to make the most of it,” he added.
“It will be another physical battle against Dundalk but we are well used to it.
"It will need a strong referee to handle it and it calls for cool heads and strong discipline on both sides,” said Caulfield, who has Steven Beattie, Alan Bennett and Garry Buckley all facing late fitness tests on Oriel Park’s newly laid artificial surface.