CORK CITY will make multiple changes for their EA Sports Cup quarter-final clash with the holders, St Patrick’s Athletic at Turner’s Cross this afternoon (4pm).
For the second time in a fortnight, John Caulfield side get to grips with the Supersaints whom they beat 3-0 in the league up at Richmond Park recently.
“We we will ring the changes for tomorrow’s game and go with a team similar to the one that beat Limerick at the Markets Field in the previous round. We could make up to nine changes because of a few knocks and injuries.
We have others coming back from injury and the lads on the bench all wanting game time and while we want to win the game at home, it’s an opportunity to give some players 90 minutes football.
In an ideal world, you probably wouldn’t want to make so many but Friday night’s 2-1 win over Bray Wanderers took its toll with Alan Bennett and Garry Buckley out.
Our squad is a little reduced with the injuries but it’s a good opportunity to get the bench a run and we will have a few of the U19s like Pierce Phillips, Alec Byrne, Daire O’Riordan, Adam O’Sullivan, Conor McCarthy and Aaron Drinan in the team and it will be a good test for them.
I think St Pat’s as the holders of the competition will field a strong team because they have won the League Cup for the last two years and Liam Buckley will be keen to try and make it three in a row.
I think they may even go with their strongest eleven and they will out it up to us,” he added.
Caulfield said that players like Greg Bolger and skipper Johnny Dunleavy who have been out injured need more game time and they could start along with Alan Smith, Shane Griffin, Christian Nanetti, John Kavanagh and Connor Ellis.
“It might be the lesser of the three domestic competitions but it’s a quarter-final and it’s a game we want to win at home and make the semi-finals and with so many changes it will be a great challenge for the lads that come into the side.
We will have lads in the team today eager to prove a point and we want to keep the momentum going now after such a great start to the season.
We have another massive league game at home to Finn Harps on Friday night and we have to bear that in mind too.
Overall it’s an opportunity for the supporters to get a close look at some of the young and up-and-coming talent we have at Cork City and we are hoping for a big bank holiday crowd.
St Pat’s will give game time to Ciaran Kelly, Jack Bayly, Pat Cregg and Billy Dennehy who were all on the bench for the league meeting at Inchicore and manager Liam Buckley is stil without top striker Christy Fagan with a hamstring injury, while former Cork City defender Darren Dennehy looks set to miss out again with an ankle injury.
"We are delighted to be into the quarter-finals of the EA Sports Cup after that shoot-out win over Bray keeps our chances of winning the competition for a third time in a row alive. The boys played quite well and I felt if either team was going to win it in normal time or extra-time it was going to be us.
“It took penalties in the end and it's not the first time we've needed a shoot-out to get through in the cup. The boys took their kicks well and we move on to a quarter final against Cork now,” he added.
Buckley says the EA Sports Cup has been a good competition over the last few years, not just in terms of success but also in mixing some younger players into the team along with the senior ones.
"We've used the EA Sports Cup well over the last three years with a good mix of some younger players who have done really well. We beat Cork on penos at this stage of the competition on the way to winning it in 2015,” he added.
"We played well in Turner's Cross that evening and we'll be planning to do that again today.
If we are going to win any competition, we'll need to beat the best teams and win in places like Cork. They are top of the table with 11 straight wins, so we will have to be at our very best.
"Cork are on a really good run at the moment and they are the team to beat. We're obviously looking to get a result ourselves and if we perform to the levels we are capable of, we've got a good chance.