COBH RAMBLERS look set to hand a home league debut to new signing Cian Coleman from Cork City when they entertain promotion rivals Athlone Town at St Colman’s Park on Saturday afternoon (3pm).
The former City U19’s skipper who had trials with Nottingham Forest last month and trained with Waterford last week was snapped up by Cobh’s Stephen Henderson after watching the claret-and-blues in action in a 1-1 draw with Shelbourne.
Cobh missed out on the chance to go top of the First Division when Shels’ scored a last kick of the game equaliser through Adam Evans after Chris McCarthy had given the home team a 75th minute lead from a spot kick.
Cobh are fourth in the table tonight on five points from three games just behind Athlone, UCD and leaders Waterford all on six points each.
“Cian is added to the squad for tomorrow’s home game and he could make his debut at some stage. We have signed him as a midfield player rather than a defensive player and he’s a versatile lad.
He did well in training this week, made his mark and he adds a bit more quality to what is a very young squad,” said Henderson of his new acquisition.
Cobh have several first teamers on the doubtful list with Darren Murphy (ankle), Cian Kingston (hamstring), Ian Mylod (ankle), Ryan Hogan (back) and front man Dean Swords picked up a foot injury in training.
“I don’t envisage making too many changes after our 1-1 draw with Shels’ last week because we put in a very good performance again and were only undone by a freak goal in the last minute.
It was very disappointing to drop two points like that at home when we had the chance to go top with a win.
“I still believe we should have nine points at this stage, we deserve to have nine but we are three games unbeaten now and we want to stretch that to four tomorrow.
These late, late goals have killed us in the last few outings and we need to cut them out starting tomorrow afternoon. We have been strong and resilient so far and I believe there is more to come from this team,” he added.
Athlone won their opening two games against Waterford (1-0) and away to Wexford (2-1) but they slipped up last week losing the midlands derby 3-0 at home to Alan Mathews’ Longford Town.
“Athlone are a bit of an unknown quantity for us in that they have a new Portuguese manager in Ricardo Monsanto and Colin Fortune is the new head coach and they have brought in five or six foreign players.
It will be interesting to see how those new additions fit into the side but we have some good information on them as well,” said Henderson ahead of Cobh’s second home game in a row.
Monsanto, 38, previously worked with Fatima and Barreirense and he was born in Lisbon. He holds a UEFA 'A' licence and worked as technical coordinator with the Lisbon FA.
Ramblers are in EA Sports Cup first round action on Tuesday night (7.45) at home to Avondale United in what will be a big occasion for ex-Dales man Karl Caulfield.
Cobh will be hoping to see an improvement in the quality of the playing surface at St Colman’s Park as well with the weather improving and they can get back to playing the bal on the deck.
Paul Hunt, James McSweeney, Anto O’Donnell and Ben O’Riordan will have the defensive duties screened by skipper Chris ‘Kaka’ McCarthy with Karl Caulfield, Craig Donnellan, Stephen Christopher and Jason Abbott in midfield. Dean Swords, if passed fit, and Ross Mann will be the attacking options as the Ramblers go in search of three more league points.
Cobh are away to Cabinteely at Stradbrook on Saturday, March 25 and then home again to big rivals UCD on Saturday, April 1.