13 July 2017
By Bryan T. Smyth
European football returns to Turner’s Cross, as Cork City welcome AEK Larnaca to Leeside tonight
City come into the game on the back of a 1-0 league win over St. Pat’s last Sunday, and last Thursday, they recorded a 4-2 win over Levadia Tallinn to set up the meeting with the Cypriot side.
Speaking ahead of the game, City manager John Caulfield said: “There is a strong Spanish influence in their team and they keep the ball very well. They are very patient, they will keep possession and try to open up the gaps and wear you down to create chances. They have a number of seriously good players and it is a massive challenge to us, we know that, but at the same time, we look back at last year and the experience we gained. We knocked out Hacken and we gave Genk a serious test too, so we know nothing will do other than a top-class performance from us.”
“This is where you want to be. You look at last Thursday night, nearly 7,000 people, the noise ringing in the lads’ ears coming out of the tunnel. We were two-one down at half time in a tricky tie, but the crowd understood the difficulty of the match and they knew what was needed; they were really incredible for us and we need all of that again on Thursday night. We think there are areas where we can cause them problems but, at the same time, we know they are very strong in lots of areas too.”
“We know we are up against it but these guys have done incredibly well for the last couple of seasons and I’ll be disappointed if we didn’t have a really serious go at them, and that is what we plan to do.”
Jimmy Keohane returns after serving a league suspension, while Alan Bennett has returned to training but is still rated as a doubt. Johnny Dunleavy and John Kavanagh are both definitely ruled out.
Injury News: Johnny Dunleavy, John Kavanagh, Alan Bennett
Last Europa League game: Cork City 4-2 Levadia Tallinn
Last game: Cork City 1-0 St. Pat’s
League Form (most recent game first): W W W W W