Derry City v Cork City – Fri 11th May – 7.45pm – Brandywell
Derry City will host last year’s double winners when Cork City visit the Brandywell on Friday night.
City will be looking to protect their unbeaten home record and also to bounce back after last week’s shock defeat at the hands of Bray Wanderers.
Cork are back top of the table after their win against Limerick last week and will be looking to continue their impressive away form.
The Leesiders have scored 15 of their 26 league goals away from home this season but have also been more porous on the road, conceding 10 of the 11 goals they have let in to date when playing away from the Cross.
City suffered a set back last Friday with a surprise defeat away in Bray and will be looking to close the gap to the top three.
Kenny Shiels has said that he might well opt to make a couple of changes fairly soon as he has concerns over the effects the current schedule is having on one or two of his players.
Talking to local media this afternoon the Derry boss said that he would delay selecting his starting XI until he and his coaching staff have had a chance to weigh up their options.
“We have to take things one game at a time but we can’t ignore the fact that the big matches are coming thick and fast. We don’t have any major injuries as such but when you play so many games in a short space of time the little niggles start to come into play.”
“You saw our training session this morning where a couple of lads sat it out. Sometimes something like that can help ease things a bit.”
Shiels refused to be drawn on Ronan Curtis’ availability for Friday night’s match at home to Cork.
Cork have former Candystripes McCormick, Barry and McNamee in their squad as they travel North whilst Shiels will be hoping his replacements in the form of Peers, Toal, Hale and others can show that the hearts of City fans have been won over by the new signings.
With no major injuries to report, Shiels will have some competition for places throughout his squad. Eoin Toal’s emergence this season means three contenders for two centre half spots, whilst Darren Cole has often had to fill in at right back in recent weeks.
Further up the field Rory Patterson remains the favourite to lead the line but Ronan Curtis’ devastating hat trick in Monday’s game gave the manager plenty to think about.
John Cofie continues to get game time and offers a different option up front whilst Ronan Hale has mostly spent time on the wing to date this season but has been amongst the goals.
City were back amongst the goals on Monday when they hit seven to see off Shels and advance to the last four of the EA Sports Cup. However with the two dominant sides of the recent era the next two games for Shiels men, it is clear that this will be a true test of their progression since last season.
City failed to beat Cork last season, losing 3-0 in a televised game early in the season before falling 2-1 at the Brandywell. A 0-0 draw at Turners Cross towards the tail end of the campaign was a battling performance for the Candystripes on the night when Cork were confirmed as 2017 SSE Airtricity Champions.
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