COBH RAMBLERS give a timely welcome back to their suspended club captain Chris ‘Kaka’ McCarthy for Saturday night’s First Division top of the table clash and provincial derby with leaders Waterford at St Colman’s Park (7.15pm).
McCarthy is expected to lead the team out for this mouth-watering clash and the Ramblers can go top for a third time this season if the win the match.
Manager Stephen Henderson is delighted to have his skipper available again but missing will be influential playmaker Karl Caulfield who is ruled out with a quad muscle injury and centre-half Cian Kingston who has an ankle ligament injury.
It doesn't get much bigger than this game in Cobh tomorrow night – a top of the table Munster derby with the top two teams in the division in action.
Henderson's side go into the game in a rich vein of form, having won four of their last five in the league, including last week's impressive win away to UCD and the gaffer is full of praise for his squad for getting themselves into their current position, given the vast difference in budgets between the two clubs.
"For us to be half-way through the season and to be two points off a side who have put in a huge amount of investment, I can't speak highly enough of my players to still be on their coat-tails as we enter the second half of the season.
"At the start of the campaign our main goals were to try and get through the season, to try and keep the club afloat, and to do that we were going to have to be in the mix with these teams. And for the squad to do that, and to have the opportunity to go top of the table now, I just can't compliment them enough,” said Henderson.
"On the flip side, it is only half-way through the season. We can't run away with ourselves. We have to settle down, work hard and see if we can do it over the course of the full season but the attitude and application of the players s first class,” he added.
Waterford scored a narrow 2-1 win over the claret-and-blues in their last meeting at the RSC back on April 7 and Ramblers will seek revenge for that setback tomorrow night.
On the injury front, Karl Caulfield is out with the quad muscle injury that has seen him miss recent games, although the midfielder is close to a return. Central defender Cian Kingston remains absent due to an ankle injury, but other than that, Cobh will be close to full strength for this latest installment of the race for promotion from the First Division.
Cobh will come up against former Cork City stars Mark O’Sullivan and Kenny Browne in this derby clash.
It’s just a pity, from an attendance point of view, that the game is up against the English FA Cup final at Wembley tomorrow.
The Chelsea versus Arsenal clash, barring extra-time, only ends in and around 7.15p.m which is exactly the same time as Cobh kick-off against Waterford and I am sure Ramblers would have attracted an even bigger crowd with an afternoon kick-off in a bid to keep everyone happy!
The Blues are now owned by Swindon Town chairman Lee Power who is delighted with the way things are going on Suirside.
“Everything that we hoped for has gone according to plan, The work behind the scenes with the players and management is fantastic. The support has been unbelievable too and I couldn’t be happier with the way things are going for us,” said Power who suffered the heartbreak of seeing Swindon relegated to League Two earlier this month.
Now he is hoping that the Blues can bring him some joy by winning promotion to the Premier Division but the only way they can do that is to be crowned league champions.
“We need to be self-sustainable down the road but it is difficult to run a football club because most supporters just want success but that success costs a lot of money and that’s why we have invested in the project here in Waterford,” he added.