CONFIDENCE is beginning to grow at Cork City Football Club, but tonight they face arguably their toughest test of the season so far.
Two clean sheets have ensured that City avoided defeat in their last two games while their last outing saw them find the net on five occasions against a severely weakened Wexford side, who have also yet to register a single point.
But their solidarity at the back, as well as their newfound prowess in front of goal, will face a stern test this evening when they take on the side residing at the other end of the First Division.
League leaders UCD have the joint best defensive record in the league - albeit that is just one fewer than City - but it’s at the other end of that park that they have made an enormous impression.
Their 21 goals mean they have scored more goals than any other side (including the Premier Division clubs) with 15 of those coming in the last four games alone to keep them top of the table ahead of Shelbourne on goal difference.
“They play some good football, the system that they play allows them to do it so it will be a tough game but our lads know that,” admitted City manager Colin Healy, whose team is currently eighth.
“We have had a look at the videos, we have done our training sessions to prepare for the game on Friday night, it’s a tough one but it’s one we are all looking for too.
“It’s a big pitch up there, they have got a good way of playing so it will be a difficult game but, as I keep saying, we will have our boys ready for them so it will be a good game.”
But as mentioned, City head to the capital in a confident frame of mind following their 5-0 triumph against Wexford at Turner’s Cross last Friday night.
A brace by Cian Murphy and Darragh Crowley should also give them the belief that they can finish at this level, same goes for Beineon O’Brien-Whitmarsh, who netted twice off the bench.
“It was a good team performance and we got some good goals,” added Healy.
“We got some good performances as well so there’s confidence around the training ground at the moment.
"They’re training well but it’s going to be a big game Friday night again against UCD.
“Especially as a centre-forward, when you are getting the goals it gives you that confidence and you are just waiting then for the next game.
“They get an opportunity now again Friday night to see if they can go and get some more goals against a very, very good team.
“Getting the five goals was really important. We haven’t scored too many goals you know so to get the five against Wexford was important, that creates confidence. Our pressing off the ball was good as well so it was a good team performance overall.
“I always think we can be better.
“We are always striving to be better and I think we can be better as well. We can improve all over the pitch, the more games that we play and the more training sessions we do we will get better and better.”
Even if they fail to get a positive result against the title challengers tonight, another positive showing will provide more belief that they may finally be heading in the right direction.
A poor showing against the seemingly free-scoring students could really undo all the good work done over the last couple of weeks with big games to come on the horizon at home to Galway and away to local rivals Cobh Ramblers.
“We are going up there to win the game, that’s what we are getting the lads ready for," insisted Healy.
"The players that we have, the last few games that we have played the lads have done very, very well so there’s no reason why we can’t go up there and get three points.
“We will be organised, don’t worry, we will have our own way of playing against them and you will see that."