FRIDAY: SSE Airtricity League, First Division, Cork City v Wexford Youths Turner’s Cross, 7.45pm.
CORK CITY host bottom of the table Wexford Youths on Friday night hoping to build on their 0-0 draw against Bray Wanderers last weekend.
Youths sit bottom of the table, pointless, and come into the game on the back of a 6-0 defeat by UCD.
However, City boss Colin Healy is expecting a difficult game and knows his team cannot take their opponents lightly.
“It will be another tough game,” says Healy. “I keep saying it, ‘every game is tough’.
“They will be good. They will put it up to us. The players are looking forward to Friday.
“It would be nice to get a few goals. In every game that we play, we haven’t sat off any teams. We’ve pressed them high and we have got after people. I don’t think it will be any different against Wexford.
“I think a lot of teams when they come down (to play at Turner’s Cross), we get after them quickly and we put a high press on them.
“It comes back down then to the quality of what you’ve got and what you can do with it after that.
“Wexford are coming down; they will have a point to prove and we need everybody at it Friday night.
I would never underestimate anybody. I never did that as a player and haven’t done it as a manager.
“Obviously, our players know going into the game that it’s going to be very difficult against Wexford and it’s like that with every game we approach.
“We don’t take anyone for granted. The boys are tuned in, they will know what to do on Friday night.”
On paper, this is the easiest game City have had to date, but having collected just four points from their six fixtures, scoring just four goals, City have to be better if they want to climb the table.
Strikers are always the first to have the finger pointed at them when the team hasn’t been scoring, but Healy believes the onus shouldn’t be just on the strikers.
I think we can improve everywhere. I think we can improve on our defending and I think we can improve on our attacking and that’s as a team.
“It’s just not the strikers and wide players, overall, we need to be better.
“We need more points on the board and that comes down to us as a squad, as a whole, we need to be better everywhere. That’s the aim going forward, and hopefully Friday night we can start doing that.”
Both teams have struggled so far this season with Wexford currently bottom of the First Division and City just one place above them.
City will be hoping to have a similar outcome to the sides last league meeting in 2016 — a game City won 5-0 — but unfortunately, times have changed for City and Healy wants supporters to understand that this is a young side and they cannot be compared to the City of old.
“As everybody knows, we have a young team. If people were coming in thinking we were going to win the league and that kind of stuff, listen, it was going to be very, very difficult.
“We’re in different times here at the club. Going back two or three years ago, you had probably the best players in the country.
“We don’t have that at the moment. We’ve got young players; hungry players and we’ve got players that will give everything for the club, and they showed that last Friday night (against Bray).”
Gordon Walker came back into the side against Bray last weekend, having not featured in City’s four previous games but after impressing against the Seagulls, the former Cobh Ramblers player is expected to keep his place in the starting line-up for tonight’s game.
Having lost all of their six matches this season, Wexford shouldn’t cause City problems, but Walker is not taking anything for granted and believes that Wexford previous results shouldn’t be read into.
“We are still going to approach the game as if Wexford were top of the league,” Walker said.
“We are just going to go in thinking that, ‘we can get the three points here’ and let’s hope for a good performance for us.”
City will be without Cory Galvin, Steven Beattie, and long-term absentees Robert Slevin and Joshua Honohan, but they hope to have Gearoid Morrissey and defender George Heaven available, both of whom missed last week’s game against Bray.