AS we approach the last few games of the season, mathematically, Cork City are still in with a chance to make the play-offs, but with 10 points between them and fifth-placed Bray, it’s difficult to see this happening.
In saying that, it is possible, and the first task is to get three points tonight at the Carlisle Grounds.
City have yet to beat them this season having got two draws, a scoreless encounter at the Carlisle Grounds and a 2-2 split at The Cross.
The latter was the most disappointing of the two games; it felt like a defeat as City led 2-0 with 10 minutes to go and they conceded two sloppy goals.
So if City are to catch Bray, a top performance is needed tonightto keep the faith for another while yet.
City travel to the Carlisle Grounds with a near full squad as they welcome back from injury, Gearoid Morrissey, Josh Honohan, and Jonas Hakkinen who have missed a lot of this season but who will add quality to the side for the remainder of the season.
It’s never an easy game in Bray and tonight will be no different.
Gary Cronin’s side are well organised and will be confident at home, coming into the game on the back of a good win over Cobh last week.
City boss Colin Healy knows it will be a tough encounter but one for which his lads are focused and looking forward to.
“They are a good footballing side and we’ve already had two tough games against them with very little between us,” Healy said.
“Our lads are ready and focused on putting on a good performance. We know we will always get a hard game in Bray and it will be no different tonight, but we’re going there to get three points and hopefully that will be the case.”
City come into the game on the back of a scoreless draw against Treaty, but Healy took a lot of positives from that game.
“Last week’s game against Treaty was disappointing but some positives came from it.
I thought we enjoyed the majority of possession and were unlucky not to get three points. We created a lot of chances from wide areas, but unfortunately, we didn’t have enough bodies attacking the posts.
“Defensively we were solid and hopefully the lads can bring that form into tonight’s game, added with some goals.”
City have lost just once in their last nine league games, a statistic that you might think should have them further up the table.
Healy knows while draws are good, too many defeats earlier in the season have cost them dearly this season.
“For the past month we were in good form, but unfortunately it took longer than we expected to find our form.
It’s great to think we have only lost one game in our last nine, however we had too many draws which obviously has proven not to be enough.
“We would have taken those draws at the start of the season as we had a lot of disappointing defeats, but look, the team is improving and I have to take that as a positive.
“We always want to be better, always setting high standards and that has been the way from the start, but it’s a young, inexperienced side that has come good in the end.
“We have four games to go and it looks like life again in the first division next year, maybe, but for now we just have to be positive and try to win all of our remaining games.
“We have been hit with a lot of injuries this season, in particular to our more senior players which was a pity really as it would have been great for our younger players to gain the experience from them, but that’s football.
“I am happy enough with how the younger lads are finishing out this season. The young fellas took a lot of criticism, but I think they’ve turned things around and have shown that they can compete at this level.
“Going forward next year they’ll be in a good position from what they learned this year.”