CORK CITY will be missing one of their talismen in midfielder Greg Bolger when they face a Munster derby clash away to Limerick at the Market’s Field in the Treaty city tonight.
Bolger is ruled out for another big game with a calf strain but hopes to be back in action for the top of table clash with Derry City at Turner’s Cross on this night week.
Manager John Caulfield has better news on skipper Johnny Dunleavy and Steven Beattie, both of whom missed the 2-1 win over champions Dundalk, but the dilemma for him is whether or not to go with an unchanged team after Karl Sheppard’s double eased the Leesiders into a six-point lead at the top of the Premier Division table.
Limerick chairman Pat O’Sullivan says he is expecting a crowd in excess of 4,000 tonight making it the third biggest attendance at the ground since the Super Blues moved back into the Markets’s Field.
They had slightly bigger gates for the EA Sports Cup final with St Pat’s and their play-off clash with Finn Harps.
“I saw there where John Caulfield was talking about the potential in the league and he’s right if we promote it well and give the fans a good entertaining product, they will come to games. We have tapped into that in Limerick and the next stage for us is to get in one or two experienced players to take us to the next level and that’s into European football again,” he added.
“The most important thing for us is that Limerick chairman Pat O’Sullivan has put massive money, time and effort into the club so much so that they need to get into European football next year and they have targeted a top four finish for Martin Russell this year.
Since they have come away from Jackman Park and established themselves at the Market’s Field – the traditional home of soccer in the city – they are on the up,” said Caulfield.
“They have brought in some good players in the Brazilian Rodrigo Tosi up front, Bastiin Hery in the middle of the park and they have Brendan Clarke (ex-St Pat’s) in goal and those signings have made a difference.
“They have invested well in a bid to get into Europe so for us it’s going to be another hard game and a new challenge for our lads.
We will need to play at a high intensity and a high tempo to get the result we want tonight, otherwise, we won’t do it. We know Limerick is no different to the next opponent and they are looking forward to having a right cut off of us,” said Caulfield ahead of this attractive provincial derby.
“Karl (Sheppard) has been superb for us and he was man of the match last week.
His tracking back and work rate was outstanding against Dundalk and he capped it all off with two great goals. Going forward he was brilliant and he did a lot of unseen work for us.
I keep saying the same thing about Gearoid (Morrissey) and Garry (Buckley) – they are two players that never get mentioned in our league and never get the awards – but they are two phenomenal players for Cork City in the shifts they put in every match.
“I am delighted with the start we have made but there’s a way to go yet and we don’t have a settled team either. We have had a few injuries but despite that we have played really well and we are scoring goals,” he told me.
Limerick will be a tough nut to crack and they have raised a few eyebrows with some of their results so far this year – beating Sligo 5-1 on the opening night, losing by a goal at Dundalk and Bohs and beating Bray Wanderers away from home.
“Any team that plays us seem to up their performance and it will be the same tonight. We have gone six on the spin and Limerick want to be the first team to turn us over and that’s understandable.
What we need to do is stay focused and concentrated on our own game and be ready for the challenge, ” added Caulfield who plans to utilise his full squad in the coming weeks with EA Sports Cup and Munster Senior Cup ties on the horizon.