IT'S back to the bread and butter of the league for Cork City and they will be looking to build on their impressive victory over Sligo Rovers.
City have shown in patches this season that they can mix it with the best teams.
Yes, they are second bottom in the table, having lost half their matches, however, they’ve never been outclassed in any game this year but have lacked consistency.
As much as City players will be rightfully delighted with their victory over Sligo last weekend, they must be a little bit frustrated with themselves because they will be wondering how they can be second from bottom in the First Division when they have shown against Sligo they are better than that.
Consistency. It's just about winning four or five games in succession. It can be about just doing the right things for the full 90 minutes of the game. I keep thinking about City’s recent 2-2 match with Bray Wanderers.
For 80 minutes, City were unplayable, and showed that when they do the right things and play the game at their tempo, they can tear the best teams apart but for the last ten remaining minutes of that game, they made the wrong decisions and unfortunately they were punished. Had City hung on that game, it would have been the perfect performance.
However, they have shown in their last two games against Wexford and Sligo, that they are learning from previous experiences. Against both sides, they were under pressure towards the end of the matches and had to defend against waves of attacks from the opposition.
In both those games, they did manage to see out the result and that is encouraging because it is shown that progress is being made.
We know, this is a young City side and this season was always going to be a learning curve for most of these players. They could be excused for making mistakes at the beginning but what is important was that they learnt from them, otherwise it would be a worry.
It seems that these players are learning and the improvement in them since the start of the season is encouraging.
They are fouling to prevent counterattacks, but the most impressive and biggest improvement from City from the beginning of the season is that when they are in possession, they pass the ball forward and with a purpose rather than making backwards or lateral passes like they were.
As a former striker, my attention is always drawn to the frontmen, and I can’t help but be impressed by what I’ve seen from Beineon O’Brien-Whitmarsh of late.
The striker has had to be patient to get his opportunity in the starting 11. Most of his appearances at the beginning of the season were coming on as a substitute but now that he knows he has gained the manager's trust. He is playing like a player full of confidence and not one the worries that any little mistake in a game might see him back on the bench the following match.
This game will be different to the Sligo match. The onus now will be the Rebel Army to attack UCD rather than sit back and allow the opposition to have the ball like they did in Sligo game.
I do think it suits City more to allow the opposition to have the ball and play on the counterattack with the pace in their team, but they have shown against Bray and with their first goal against Sligo, that they are more than capable of opening teams up when they move the ball with a purpose.
UCD come into the game on the back of an excellent win themselves by defeating Shelbourne in the cup. It was Shels' first defeat of the season and UCD fully deserved their victory.
In Colm Whelan, they have the division’s top scorer, but five of his 12 goals have come from the penalty spot. It’s also interesting that UCD have been awarded three penalties in their last three games and City need to be careful with challenges in their box.
If City play the way they have been of late, I see them picking up their third home victory of the season.