Cork City manager John Caulfield is expecting a tough evening at Racing Genk on Thursday night; however, with preparations having gone well this week and an improving injury status for midfielder Greg Bolger, City have their eyes on a precious away goal.
“We’re nursing Greg but apart from that everyone else seems to be okay,” Caulfield said, speaking ahead of the game. “He’s further ahead than he was last week so you’d expect him to make it. He had a problem after the match (last week), but it was nothing major compared to the week before. At this stage, I would think he’ll make the match.”
City’s latest Europa League opponents are a squad packed with internationals, including former Rangers man and captain Thomas Buffel as well as Spaniard Alejandro Pozuelo, who has spent time in the Premier League with Swansea City.
“We certainly know we’ll be up against it. We know we’ll be on the back foot but we feel we can cause them trouble on the counter in certain areas but you have to get the ball to do that.
“As an underdog, you need to play exceptionally well and you need your concentration to be good. Probably, you need them not to play as well as they can – certainly their top players. We are going out with the game plan of trying to keep it tight and see if we can hit them on the counter.”
Caulfield has also seen confidence and momentum grow with each passing game in recent weeks and believes it will stand to the group in the coming weeks and months.
“There is no doubt after beating Linfield in the first round, Hacken was a bonus to us. Last week as we were walking off the pitch, I said to the lads that it was a moment that will last in their memories – the crowd, the noise levels, the very last kick of the game when McNulty made the save, the cheer, the roar from everyone. They could see how the other team were better but it was a night for the underdog. And that builds its own confidence.
“While Europe has been fantastic, we haven’t played league matches and we know it’s going to build up. When that comes back, we’ll have to get back to basics, get our feet back on the ground and deal with that when it comes.
“I’m hoping this will be a springboard for the lads to drive on because their age is good, the potential of the team is massive and while Dundalk have set the barrier and are a fantastic team, we’re close to them and we have to push ourselves more to get right up there.”