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sexta-feira, 21 de outubro de 2016
IRELAND: Premier Division - League Preview: Cork City -v- St Patrick's Athletic
Cork City face St. Patrick’s Athletic for the third time in 20 days at Turner’s Cross this evening knowing that failure to win will hand the title to arch rivals Dundalk.
City’s 3-1 reverse at the hands of the Inchicore men in last Monday’s re-arranged League fixture put a further dent in the Leesiders’ title aspirations following the previous week’s 2-1 defeat at Oriel Park.
Cork City sit seven points behind Dundalk in the table with just three games left so anything other than a home victory this evening will see Dundalk crowned champions, no matter what happens in the Lilywhites’ Sunday home encounter with Bohemians.
Speaking to the media at his Thursday press conference at Aspira House, City manager John Caulfield said: “Monday was disappointing and we know we didn’t play as well as we can. We want to get back to winning ways and finish the season on a high before the cup final. Tomorrow night is an opportunity for us to give a lot of the lads a game.”
Caulfield looks set to rotate his squad as City host Pat’s, a team they actually beat 3-1 at Richmond Park in the FAI Cup semi-final on October 2nd.
“We have had quite a few lads playing a lot of games over the last few weeks, so this is an opportunity for some of the lads who have been on the bench and, certainly three or four of those lads have a real chance of putting themselves in the picture for the cup final. I think we will make a minimum of three changes tomorrow night, due to knocks and fatigue.”
“I am expecting a much-improved performance tomorrow night,” he continued. “I expect a response from the players coming into the team. While we will be making changes, it is our last home Friday night game of the season, and our attendances have been very good in general this season, so we are hoping for a good crowd tomorrow night and good performance to send them home happy.”
John Kavanagh is set to miss out with a knock as will long-term absentees Alan Smith and John Dunleavy. A number of other players are likely to be assessed closer to kick-off.
ST. PATRICK’S ATHLETIC
EA Sports Cup win apart, it’s been a lean season for St. Patrick’s Athletic. The Saints will be looking to finish off their season as strongly as possible when they visit Turner’s Cross tonight.
European places are out of the Saints’ reach, but Liam Buckley’s men can still finish as high as fifth in the Premier Division table, although sixth looks more likely.
Late goals on Monday night from Sam Verdon and a Conan Byrne penalty secured a well-earned victory for St Pat’s and a repeat of that form could see them possibly earn a point or better against a changed home line-up.
However, City are unbeaten in six home league games and Pat’s have not won away from home for three league matches.
In an example of the Inchicore side’s brittle away form, last Friday Bray Wanderers came from a goal down to beat St Pat’s 2-1 at the Carlisle Grounds. Prior to last Monday, the Saints’ last league win against Cork City was back in May 2014 with Conan Byrne scoring a dramatic last minute goal in a 3-2 win at Richmond Park.
Referee: Paul Tuite
Cork City have won five of the last ten league meetings between the sides. St. Pat’s have won three (including last Monday) and there have been two draws.
Sean Maguire heads the Cork City goalscoring charts with 16. Christy Fagan is St. Pat’s’ top scorer with nine.
In 45 league meetings at Turner’s Cross, City have won 18, St. Pat’s 14 and there have been 13 draws. City have scored 46 times in those matches and St. Pat’s 41.