Cork City play their fourth competitive game of the season on Tuesday night when they welcome Crusaders to Turners Cross for the first leg of their Setanta Cup quarter-final.
Cork City have enjoyed an excellent pre-season thus far and will expect a result on Tuesday at home to Crusaders.
Cork City could not have envisioned a better pre-season. They battered Crusaders’ Northern rivals, Cliftonville, 4-0 at Turners Cross in their opening Setanta Cup game of the season and then held them to a 2-2 draw away in Belfast. Cliftonville came into the game full of confidence as the Irish Premiership leaders, but were sent packing by a tremendous Cork City display. Cork City also beat Douglas Hall 0-2 at the weekend but Crusaders will be a much bigger challenge.
Crusaders are the current Setanta Cup holders and find themselves sitting in second place in the Irish Premiership, a massive fourteen points behind Cliftonville. Having lost to Cliftonville in the Irn Bru Cup Final last month, the Setanta Cup remains Crusaders’ only real hope of silverware this season. They are aware of the threat Cork City pose and will most likely start the game defensively. Not surprising really, considering the Rebel Army have won all nine of their previous games at home to Northern opposition.
Tommy Dunne has no new injury concerns ahead of Tuesday night’s game at ‘The Cross’. Johnny Dunleavy remains sidelined with tonsillitis, while Brian Lenihan continues his recovery from a groin injury. Kalen Spillane is suspended for the game following his red card against Cliftonville in the previous round.
Cliftonville have a number of absentees and will be far from full-strength for Tuesday night’s fixture. Six first-team players are missing due to suspensions carrying over from the previous year’s competition and Stephen Baxter’s men will have it all to do if they are to leave the Rebel County with a result. Timmy Adamson, Crusaders’ top scorer, is one of the aforementioned absentees and his loss is a huge dent to the ‘Hatchetmen’s chances.
Players to Watch
Ian Turner has developed into an excellent outlet for Cork City on the wing and his pace up and down the flank will be a constant threat to Crusaders. If Turner can provide good supply to City’s front men, a home result is surely on the menu.
With Crusaders missing so many influential players, such as club captain Colin Coates and Timmy Adamson, the onus will be on the peripheral players to step up and fill the void. Jordan Owens played well when coming on a substitute and equalising against Dungannon at the weekend. He should start and another big performance is needed.