WITH Premier Division football returning to Turner's Cross for the first time in over two years, a huge crowd is expected for Cork City's game against Bohemians on Friday night.
Players could often be overwhelmed by such an occasion, but City manager Colin Healy believes that it is a game that the players should “enjoy”. Bohs come to Turner's Cross on the back of a difficult campaign last year, in which the club finished sixth in the table but Healy expects Declan Devine’s team to be a much tougher opposition this year.
“It’s going to be a difficult game but it’s great to be back in the Premiership. We have worked very hard over the last two years to get back there. We want nights like this. We know what Bohs are about. They are a very good side. They have a lot of talent. They have recruited very well during the off-season and have certainly strengthened their squad.
“They have a very good manager in Declan Devine. We know that it is going to be tough but we are ready for the challenge. We have worked very hard during the pre-season to be ready for this and the lads are prepared.
"They know what we demand from them, other than that they just go out and play.
"They have done all the hard work in preseason, and now it is about showing people what they can do. There will be mistakes in the game, that is something that just happens in a game, but you just get on with it and you just go and play.”
City will come into the season under new ownership with Dermot Usher taking control of the club after Foras’ 13-year stewardship. There have been several changes to the City squad this season with players leaving the club and others joining. Healy is pleased with the club’s recruitment during the off-season.
“Preseason has been good. Obviously, there were a few changes this year with the takeover happening. We got some new players in. We were a small bit later to do things because the takeover didn’t go through until December, so we were a small bit behind other things.
"We are happy with the players we brought in. Preseason has been going fine. We have had good games. Training has been good. So we are happy with it.
“I was speaking to the new lads anyway before the takeover happened just to be prepared. Of course, there was a small bit of uncertainty. We didn’t know if it was going to happen so players were waiting until it went through. Then once it went through; the conversations changed to telling the players what the club’s ideas were going forward. The lads were happy with what we had to say to them.
“When you are signing players, the first question I ask myself is; is he going to improve our team? Then obviously you try to find out what type of character he is.
"There is a lot that goes into signing a player but we always look at their talent first. Then see will they be good in the dressing room as well.
“Like I said we were late to do things, so when that happens the pool of players is smaller which made us look outside of England. Obviously, we have got in some loans with Tobi (Oluwayemi), Ethon Varian, Matt Healy, and also Kevin (Custovic). After that, we were looking at free agents. We looked in Sweden. We brought in Albin (Wimbo) and Daniel (Krezic) as well. They are good lads. They are good in the dressing room. They will add quality to the team."
After gaining promotion in only his second season in charge, Healy believes the club have to build on the success over time.
“We have to build. It’s great with Dermot coming in, and he has great ideas. It’s now about getting the right players in and going from there. Hopefully, we can beat Bohs. We will have tough games this season. We just have to build. It might take one, two or three years to get back to where we were.”