CORK CITY have targeted league wins over Derry City at home tonight and away to Drogheda United on October 9th as a pathway back into European football via the Europa League again next season.
The ‘Rebels’ are back in league action against the ‘Candy Stripes’ for the third time in under two weeks in a televised clash at Turner’s Cross tonight (7.25 p.m.) with manager John Caulfield (right) demanding a home win.
“The incentive for us is that we know we are very close to making Europe again and perhaps two more wins will be enough to guarantee it but we’d like to take a good performance and a home win into Sunday week’s FAI Cup semi-final away to Bray Wanderers as well,” said Caulfield.
“Derry will be a different proposition with Paul Hegarty at the helm.
“He’s such a committed, passionate guy that he will mould and rally the team to play to his style. The fact they beat Rovers in his first game in charge is an indication of how things have changed already and they will be dangerous. We got reports back that they played very well and they were well up for it and it will be the same when they run out at the’ Cross tonight.”
Derry’s Conor McCormack and Ciaran O’Connor are both available to play having been cup tied for the FAI Cup clash and Caulfield feels the Co. Louth duo will give Hegarty’s troops another attacking threat.
“We can’t underestimate lads like Conor McCormack or Ciaran O’Connor as they have done well for them too and scored a few goals,” added Caulfield.
Cork have won just one of their last four league games since losing back-to-back to Shamrock Rovers and Limerick while Derry come south having lost three of their last four league encounters.
Strong Chairman Needed
Referring to the sacking of Peter Hutton, Caulfield said that was one of the downsides of the game and illustrated the precarious nature of football management in the League of Ireland.
“It is a precarious occupation when you look at the number of managers that have come and gone already this season,” said the Cork boss. “I think it shows that some club chairmen and boards don’t understand the game and far too many of them act in haste to situations.
“We have some great managers in the league in people like Mick Cooke at Drogheda and now at Bray, Stephen Kenny at Dundalk, Liam Buckley at St Pat’s and obviously Pat Fenlon at Shamrock Rovers has managed abroad and so on.
“I think the problem we have is that the social world has changed and people don’t seem to enjoy wins any more. You can’t win a game now without people on social media wanting to know what’s going to happen in 10 games time and so on, and unfortunately, boards and chairman react to this and ultimately the manager pays the price.
“I think you need a strong board at the club and that helps. I think we have become more akin and part of the English football culture, and if a guy gets a few bad results, he’s out the door, instead of being given more time to get things right.It’s become a bit of a merry-go-round cross-channel and I am not in favour of that at all,” stressed Caulfield.
“I always say when you make a change in any football club, is the person coming in going to do a better job and take the club a stage further and again you have to argue in the majority of cases that just doesn’t happen.
“A case in point is perhaps a club like Sligo Rovers who were challenging for leagues and cups a short few years ago, and all of a sudden, they are down in the relegation zone and fighting for their very Premier Division survival.
“They have gone through so many managers ... it’s frightening,” he added.