Derry City, buoyed by their mid week defeat of Linfield, will face Cork City, who themselves were within seconds off taking all three points at home to Shamrock Rovers last week, at The Brandywell on Friday evening (kick off 7.45pm).
Derry may still be without captain Kevin Deery who is close to a return and Brian McGroary who is edging closer to match fitness. They will definitely be missing star striker Rory Patterson who will be serving a one game suspension for his sending off in the defeat to Shelbourne last Friday. Shane McEleney hasn't trained this week after a virus but Patrick McEleney has recovered from illness. Mark Farren looks likely to lead the line again after completing his first 90 minutes since coming back from serious illness. Owen Morrison will also be pushing for a start after his performance as a substitute in the Setanta Sports Cup on Tuesday night.
Stand in captain Barry Molloy believes the never say die attitude displayed in mid week can only bode well for the Candystripes. "It was important for us to bounce back on Tuesday after the defeat on Friday night, we were very focused and it will give us a lot of confidence going into the game with Cork on Friday night."
Declan Devine commented, "As with every game between the two sides I expect this to be a difficult game. I felt Cork were very unlucky not to come away with a win last week against Shamrock Rovers and I fully expect them to bring that momentum to the Brandywell on Friday night. Having said that if we play with the fluidity that we displayed in the second half on Tuesday we should secure all three points."
Cork City have had what can only be described as an indifferent start to their campaign, suffering losses to UCD and Drogheda United in their first two fixtures. However things seem to be looking rosier after last week's last gasp Gary Twigg equaliser for the champions only just denied Cork all three points at home to Shamrock Rovers.
They will however be missing Stephen Mulcahy, Kevin Murray and Neil Horgan, who are all suffering from knee injuries, and doubts remain over Daryl Horgan(thigh) and Jamie Murphy(hamstring). Shane Duggan will serve the rest of his suspension.
Speaking to CorkCityFC.net, City manager Tommy Dunne said that the Waterford game had given a number of players the opportunity to improve their match fitness: “We made a lot of changes in personnel and played a different system on Tuesday night, so that allowed us to have a look at a few things. The intensity of the game wasn’t as high as on Friday, but it allowed players to get a good 90 minutes under their belt and it was good to get the win also.”
“Derry is always a tough place to go, but we’ve had a reasonably good record up there in the last couple of years. I watched their game against Linfield the other night and you could see that they are a strong team; they are physically strong, they’re quick and they have good creativity in the side as well. They had a good season last season, and I think they will be even closer to the top this season.”
Referee: Rob Rogers
This game will see the meeting of the last two champions of the First Division.
Cork manager Tommy Dunne is an ex Derry City player.
The last time the Candystripes reached a Setanta Cup semi final, it was Cork City who eliminated them.
Derry City 8/11 Draw 12/5 Cork City 4/1
Derry City with home advantage should bag all three points. 2-1.
Derry City Injury News: Shane McEleney(ill), Kevin Deery(calf)
Derry City Suspension News: Rory Patterson
Cork City Injury News: Stephen Mulcahy,Kevin Murray, Neil Horgan(all knee), Daryl Horgan(thigh), Jamie Murphy(hamstring)
Cork City Suspension News: Shane Duggan
Jamie Mahon joined the Extratime team at the beginning of 2011. Hailing from the North West, Jamie reports on all things Derry City. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JamieMahon23.