AFTER the high drama in both clubs over the past few days, Friday night's fixture is all of a sudden the most eye-catching game in the league this weekend.
Colin Healy and Tim Clancy left their posts as City and Pat's managers respectively and everyone with an interest in League of Ireland will be keen to watch the players' and supporters' responses.
Clancy was gone by Tuesday morning meaning Pat's have had three days to prepare with interim manager Jon Daly, whereas City have had just one day to prepare under Liam Buckley and Liam Kearney after a wild few hours on Wednesday. Buckley was appointed in a new Sporting Director role at Turner's Cross in the afternoon and a few hours later the news broke that Healy had resigned as manager.
This will give Pat's an advantage in terms of being better organised as Daly has had that bit more time to try to implement his ideas, whereas Buckley and Kearney would have just one training session on Thursday, and there isn’t much they could change apart from maybe switching how City set-up for set-pieces.
Buckley’s arrival just 48 hours ago brought a lot of optimism among City supporters. He is a man that has done it all in the league, would have an eye for a player, and his teams are known for playing football in an attractive style.
However, that joy was somewhat dampened when it was announced Healy had left the club just hours later. Despite the team being second-bottom in the table, and on a four-game losing run, Healy was still adored by the core supporters and many would have liked to have seen how the pair would have worked together.
The positive relationship the fans had with Healy could make this a ‘no-win’ situation for the players. Healy had been taking a lot of the criticism for the side's results this season, with the players not really receiving their fair share of blame.
Defeat again against Pat's, and fans will start to question if the poor run of results had nothing to do with Healy and were down to the fact the players were simply not good enough.
Victory against the Dubliners could have the opposite impact. Supporters will wonder why the players weren’t performing under Healy. Were they not putting in the effort?
The majority wanted the former Celtic player to succeed as manager. He wasn’t just some ‘blow-in’ that was just at the club because it was a job and a chance to earn an income – Healy cared about Cork City and was extremely passionate about seeing the team succeed.
However, it is only normal that the squad will have that bit of extra energy against Pat's because they are playing for their futures.
They have a short time to impress whoever the new manager is going to be, with the transfer window fast approaching.
It will be very interesting to see the reaction in this game.