MIDFIELD dynamo Steven Beattie says that Cork City’s in-built confidence in their own ability to win games is the big difference between this year’s squad and the 2016 version that won the FAI Cup.
The man from Skerries in north Dublin believes that Cork can beat any team in the league now no matter who they are playing and said the dressing room is like a graveyard if the team lose a game.
“We go into every game now confident of getting three points and that’s the difference this year compared to last season. The spirit in the squad is better than ever and we have this in-built confidence in our own ability to do the job as well.
“If we don’t pick up the three points, no matter who we are playing, then it’s a massive disappointment. Turner’s Cross is a fortress for us again now and we should be picking up the three points every time we play at home. and then on the road, things will look after themselves,” said Beattie in the run-up to this evening’s Paddy’s Day clash at Shamrock Rovers (5pm).
“We get the chance to test that now away to Rovers at Tallaght and this will be another good test for us. Rovers have strengthened too and it will be a right battle tonight. We are playing good football and we are scoring plenty goals. We can win dirty too when we have to and we did it the other night coming from behind for the first time all season to beat Sligo Rovers.
“Results like that show the real character in the team and it pleases John Caulfield no end. When the going gets tough, the lads roll up their sleeves and get stuck into it. No one is hiding here, we all want to be on the ball and we all want to drive on to the next game,” explained Beattie of the work ethic that Caulfield has instilled in the squad.
Beattie added: “It’s healthy to have real competition for places and the gaffer is rotating the squad too. We have had a settled eleven in the past but now you might not be in the team having played and maybe scored the week before, and that can only benefit the squad as a whole. We have gelled well and that’s a big part of it too.”
“We have a great dressing room and we all get on well together. It’s a real family atmosphere. Once you are happy off the pitch, you are happy on it, and that’s reflected in our results and our performances.
“I love it down here on Leeside. I haven’t been back to Dublin since New Year’s Day and my folks are wondering if I am still alive sometimes,” joked Beattie.
City have a few injury worries ahead of the game with midfield enforcer Greg Bolger rated “very doubrful” by Caulfield at his media briefing yesterday.
“Greg has a knock and will be hard pushed to make it tonight. John Kavanagh and Alan Bennett come back into the reckoning though and Seanie Maguire, Stephen Dooley and Jimmy Keohane are all fine as well.
“We have four wins from four but the league hasn’t really started yet for us. It’s all about taking it game by game and tonight we are up against a Rovers team that have designs on the title as well. They have invested heavily and have ten new players in their squad so it makes for an interesting match.
We had the better of Rovers last year and we rattled them with our big Cup win up at Tallaght last year on the way to the Cup final but this is a new challenge and a new test for us. We know the threat that Rovers can pose at home but I think on form we can take the points again,” he added.
If Bolger, as expected, is ruled out with an ankle ligament injury then Gearoid Morrissey looks set to come back into the team after scoring in the big win at Drogheda United.
“We have a good record against Rovers and hopefully we can keep our run going this evening with a win in Dublin and that would set us up very nicely for the Dundalk game at Turner’s Cross next week,” he added.