THERE are a lot of factors ahead of this game that suggests an upset might be on the cards in the third Cork derby of the season.
City are without a number of key players, while you would expect some sort of bounce or response from the players with a new interim management team of Ivan Bevan, Ken Hennessey, Damien Rowe and David O’Leary in charge of the team for the first time.
Do I expect to see an upset in this fixture? Maybe a little upset but not a massive one.
I don’t think Ramblers will be celebrating victory at Turner’s Cross but they could be heading back down the N40 with an extra point in the league table.
In saying that, even though City will be without several key players; I still expect them to get back to winning ways against Ramblers.
Last week’s draw against Longford Town was a difficult pill to swallow for the City players.
To go away to one of the best sides in the division, with a handful of your best players not involved in the game and come away with victory, would have been a huge boost to the group.
Unfortunately, they weren’t able to hold onto the lead. Conceding so late in the game, I would imagine it would have felt like a loss to the players afterwards.
Reflecting on the game now, they will realise that it was a good point considering the circumstances leading into the game and how the overall match went - with Longford being the better side.
This is the perfect game for them.
It is over a month since they have had a home game and the fans will be itching to see their side again at Turner’s Cross.
They will have no problem motivating themselves for this game because of the atmosphere I’m sure the fans will create.
Of course, the City players will be talking about the new management in place at Cobh for the game.
They would have much preferred to be facing Cobh when the management team had been in charge for a number of games, not their first.
In normal circumstances for a Cork derby, Ramblers players would usually put in extra effort because it is their biggest game of the season, but add into the mix that the players will be keen to impress their new management team; the City players will know that this is an even more tricky fixture than it usually would be.
There is no sugar coating Ramblers’ form this campaign.
They have been very poor. Although the table suggests otherwise; they have been the worst team in the division. Conceding 47 goals in 18 games is not acceptable and I would imagine defensive work would be an area Cobh’s new management team would have been working on in training this week.
Any new manager coming into a struggling team will always try to work on the team’s defensive problems before addressing their attacking issues. I don’t think Cobh’s game plan will be overly adventurous or ambitious.
It will be very basic. They will sit in deep to try and make it difficult for City to break them down.
If by some chance they score on a counter-attack or from a set-piece then that will be an added bonus but their concern will be keeping a clean sheet.
I don’t believe Cobh will have a real ambition to win the game. That’s not saying that that would be the wrong approach to the match, rather the opposite.
I think the Cobh players should be thinking, ‘just defend as well as we can and work hard for one another’.
The City players will know that Cobh’s players will have a defensive mindset in the game.
That’s why it is important that they pass the ball quick even if it’s just to keep the ball moving and then look for a lack of concentration in the Cobh defence and play that killer pass.
There are nearly all must-wins for City now and they cannot afford to slip up against their near Cork neighbours.