A welcome return for 600 fans tonight at the Cross as Cork City take on Cabinteely in the SSE Airtricity League First Division.
It’s a huge task for the club who have been chosen as a trialist for this event to take place with fans back in the stadium and I can’t wait to experience the atmosphere which hopefully will be a positive one.
Fans have sometimes acted like the 12th man for the team and by God do they need that at the moment.
On the other side, fans can be fickle especially when you’re losing and with the run of form City have been in, it may have been a godsend for Healy and his team not to have experienced the abuse coming from the stand over the past few months.
However, we all know the effect the lack of fans have had over the past 12 months at all sporting events.
It’s just not the same without them and gradually seeing fans come back has been great.
So the question is can the fans help turn things around for Cork City or will the pressure from the fans be too much for this young City side?
Tonight the league resumes after a much-needed break.
Although it didn’t seem much of a mid-season break, hopefully it was enough to rejuvenate both Cork sides, City and Cobh Ramblers, who are both in desperate need of better performances from here on in this season.
After 10 games Cobh Ramblers sit second from bottom on the table with eight points while Cork City are just one position and one point better off. As I said before the break, their positions on the table are disappointing and probably more so for Cork City who were expected to contend for the league title.
City are one of the biggest clubs in the country and it’s difficult to see them struggle at this level; not many predicted to see them where they are now at this stage of the competition.
From their most recent game, a defeat away to Cobh Ramblers, it was evident how much work is needed at City.
I can’t imagine the break will transform the team totally but I would hope it was enough to re-group the lads and make them realise the importance of picking up their game and let’s hope that starts tonight at home to Cabinteely.
The sides met back in April with City suffering a 1-0 defeat after and an own goal from George Heaven.
To be fair to City they were probably the better side on the night however, Pat Devlin’s side took full advantage of the own goal and credit to them for holding out for the win.
The visitors sit mid-table and have been doing well enough with wins over Wexford, City, Athlone, Cobh and Treaty however they will come into tonight’s game having suffered a two-nil defeat to bottom side Wexford just before the break so they will be eager to get back to winning ways while Colin Healy’s side will look to take advantage of their slump in form.
However, they too suffered a defeat to second from bottom Cobh Ramblers so I wouldn’t imagine Pat Devlin will be too worried coming to Cork.
Although defensively City have improved in the past few games only conceding one in their previous three games, it’s fair to say that the main problem is in the final third.
Clean sheets and putting the ball in the back of the net comes hand in hand and unfortunately for City being clinical and ruthless in front of goal has been a huge problem for them.
I’m still not sure where the goals are going to come from but Healy is confident his side can turn things around and a few consecutive wins could bring them right up the table.
Ramblers travel to take on UCD tonight.
Earlier in the season, Ramblers suffered a four-nil defeat but one would expect Stuart Ashton’s side to use this to drive them on and get something from tonight’s game as they will know they were better than what the scoreline suggested.
They come into the game after a great win over City and there’s no denying that victory would have boosted the lads’ confidence and I expect them to put it up to UCD tonight.