Cork City are back in European action tonight, as they travel to Sweden to take on BK Häcken.
City go into the game on the back of a 1-0 win away to Wexford Youths in the league, having seen off Linfield by an aggregate score of 2-1 the previous Thursday, setting up the tie against the Swedish side.
The win over Wexford saw City stretch their unbeaten run to fifteen games in the league and ten in all competitions, with John Caulfield’s side having won eight of those ten. City’s last two away games have both been 1-0 wins, against Linfield and Wexford.
The home side returned to league action after a mid-season break with a 4-2 win at home to Hammarby. They are currently in seventh place in the All-Svenskan with four wins in their last five league games, the last two of which have come at home and seen them score seven times.
Speaking to the media prior to departure, First Team Coach John Cotter said: “They are obviously a good side with good, technical players, but we will do our homework on them. We will have our own gameplan and hopefully we will get something over there that we can bring back to Cork.”
“There is a good record against Swedish sides, so I hope we can continue that on Thursday but we know it will be a tough game. They are a good side but we are a good side too and we will go there and try to get a result.”
“We will do our analysis and go through that with the lads, but first and foremost, we have to make sure our own game plan is set up, we have to concentrate on that too. We need to make sure we are set up properly, that we know our game plan and that everyone knows their jobs.”
Speaking after his side trained in Sweden on Tuesday night, City boss John Caulfield said: “We did a one-hour workout Tuesday evening and the lads are in good form. We will train again tomorrow evening and we are all looking forward to that.”
“They are a massive team; they are vastly experienced and a very strong side, so we know we have to be on top of our game. We will need maximum concentration and everyone has to work as hard as they can. We will be under pressure, but the lads have done fantastically this year; we have been very solid defensively and we have also scored a lot of goals, so we need to be at it from the start.”
“The brilliant thing about sport is that there are no guarantees and there are upsets. While they are favourites, we have great resolve, great commitment and great spirit in our team and a really great attitude. We need to start the game well, and make sure that we don’t stand off them because, if you give them space, they can open you up. Up front, they have three fantastic players with lots of pace and energy, and they have been scoring a lot of goals, but they do concede a few goals too.”
On the injury front, doubts persist over the availability of Greg Bolger and Kenny Browne, both of whom missed out on the Wexford game through injury. John Kavanagh and John Dunleavy remain on the sidelines, along with Alan Smith. There are also concerns over Alan Bennett and Steven Beattie, but Caulfield expects them both to come through.