CORK City manager, John Caulfield expects his players to fight for their FAI Cup Final places when they take on Derry City at Brandywell tonight (K.o. 7.45p.m.).
With second place in the league secured, the Rebels can be forgiven for putting their focus totally on the November 4th showpiece against league champions, Dundalk at the Aviva Stadium.
However, Caulfield insists there are still places up for grabs in his cup final XI and expects his players to deliver in the final two league fixtures, starting on Foyleside tonight.
“Absolutely it’s not done and dusted by any means,” said the Cork boss. “We have our own internal targets to hit and while it’s difficult in Derry and it’s their new all weather pitch we look forward to the game.
“For the senior lads they’re still trying to impress because they know places are up for grabs for the cup final and that’s good for us.”
His opposite number, Kenny Shiels is expecting a ‘formidable opponent’ regardless of the team Caulfield fields but he’s more concerned about his own team as targets a fifth place finish to the season.
“It’s a big game for us. We’re still very much in the European position if we win our three games but we have to win the first one against Cork and that’s a tough one.
“If we can play the way we played in the three we lost there, then we have a good chance. But they’re a hard opponent. They’ve been the best team in the league last year, winning the double and you have to give them a lot of credit for that.
“It will be a very proactive team and they will be playing in a way in which they come to get a result. They have some good young players and have a vast area to pick from so I’m sure whoever they put out will be a formidable opponent.
“They’ll always be a hard working team so we’ve got to make sure we match their work ethic and commitment. Second balls is going to be a big part of their game.”
Shiels must plan without the injured Conor McDermott and Gavin Peers while Dan Seaborne (ankle) is rated doubtful. Meanwhile for Cork, ex-City midfielder, Conor McCormack is suspended and Steven Beattie is ruled out while Culfield is waiting on the fitness of Karl Sheppard and Alan Bennett.