Cork City FC are back on the road this week, travelling to the midlands to face Athlone Town on Friday evening. It will be a first trip to Athlone in the league since 2014, with Billy Dennehy and Mark O'Sullivan scoring in a 2-2 draw.
The Rebel Army will be looking to bounce back from last Friday's disappointing 2-0 defeat at home to Cabinteely, a game that saw spectators return to Turner's Cross for the first time since October 2020. Friday's hosts will be looking to put a halt to their own recent poor run of form, having lost 5 of their last 6 league matches.
Speaking to the press on Tuesday, City boss Colin Healy said: "First and foremost, I'm a supporter of the club. Results aren't going our way at the moment - the fans are frustrated and so am I. Trust me, it hurts me so much when we don't win games. Last weekend was tough to take. The performance in the second half wasn't good enough, and the players have been told that."
"The position that we're in at the moment is not good enough. I understand that, and the lads know that. We know that we have to improve and move up the table. We have another tough game coming up on Friday, against another good side in Athlone Town They beat us earlier on in the season, capitalising on an individual error from us. The players have trained well this week, they know they have to put in a performance on Friday night. When you put on the Cork City jersey, there are standards that must be met. If they are not met, players get replaced. That's how football works."
Steven Beattie was also on media duty this week, and he agreed that the results aren't good enough: "I'm fed up of hearing that we're young. It's time to stand up and be counted. We're playing for Cork City - plain and simple. There are no more excuses."
"It was great to have the fans back and it was brilliant to hear the roar when the lads came out of the tunnel. But, 600 people left the ground angry on Friday night. We know how passionate Cork City fans are, and we know that we need to improve tenfold."
"If you're throwing the towel in in June, you're at the wrong club anyway. I do believe we can still make the playoff places."
City will be without Cian Bargary, who suffered a shoulder injury in last week's game against Cabinteely. While Healy says that one or two others need to be assessed ahead of the trip to Athlone. Steven Beattie should be available for selection, having featured against Cabineely.
The match will be broadcast on LOI TV. You can buy a season pass for €49, or purchase a single match pass for just €5. You can also buy a 2021 Cork City FC Season Card, which gets you a stream pass as well as many other benefits.
Referee: Rob Dowling
Injury News: Cian Bargary
Last game: City 0-2 Cabinteely
Last meeting: City 0-1 Athlone Town
League Form (League, most recent game first): L L D W D L