Cobh Ramblers ready to pounce in First Division play-off battle

Cobh Ramblers manager Stephen Henderson hopes to see a big crowd at St. Colman’s Park on Saturday as they look to seal a play-off spot.

Cobh are currently placed in 4th position, just one point behind third-placed UCD, with games against Cabinteely and Athlone Town remaining.

With other play-off hopefuls UCD and Drogheda United set to play each other in the final game of the season, Ramblers know they’ve got to win their remaining two games to give themselves the best chance of a play-off spot.

Having reached the FAI Cup Quarter-Finals this season, Henderson admitted he fully expected Cobh to have the success they’re currently experiencing and has credited the hard work behind the scenes.

Henderson said: “We expected it, yes. I don’t think there is any point in going into the season without setting yourself high goals and objectives.

“I didn’t think it was going to be this tight but it’s brilliant that it is and it’s a credit to the players who’ve worked so hard this season after what was difficult for us last year.

“We almost went out of existence last year so I’m genuinely delighted for the players and everyone who has worked so hard for the club. A tremendous amount of work has gone on off the pitch with a whole new board coming into the club.

“The committee at the club were determined to give the players an environment which the players could perform in and to do that, we had to stabilise the club, treating the people involved like the supporters and sponsors with the respect they deserve.”

Cobh seem to have hit the right form at the right time having suffered just one defeat in the last ten games, a run which saw them claim an impressive 1-0 victory at play-off rivals UCD.

Henderson believes the form is a product of the players’ fantastic approach to the season and believes the final two games present difficult challenges.

He continued: “On the pitch, we went through a process were we wanted the players, who are amateur, to train and play like professionals and they’ve been an absolute credit as they all responded to that in the right way.

“It’s a big ask but they’ve put their head down and really responded which has paid off as with two games to go, we’re a point outside the play-offs.

“Both Cabinteely and Athlone Town have been difficult for us this season. We’ve drew with Athlone and we had to come from two goals down to get that draw. Cabinteely have a group of young players who’ve really developed as the season has come on and they’re turning into a great outfit.

“We’ve got to be focused, the reason we’ve been on such a good run is because of that mentality where we treat everyone, including the opposition, with the respect they deserve. If we can maintain the standards we’ve set, we’re good enough to win the last few games.

Ramblers welcome Cabinteely to St. Colman’s Park on Saturday, with kick-off at 7.15pm, with Cabinteely fresh from their 1-0 win over Drogheda United last week.

Henderson has called on the Cobh support to pack the crowd and hopes the players respond to the pressure in the right way.

He added: “It’s not going to be busy and then there is the added pressure that the players know they’ve got to win the two games to have a chance of getting into the promotion picture.

“We’ve been getting great support from the fans and we’re expecting a big crowd on Saturday which is great for the players, hopefully we’ll get up to around 1000. The players will have to deal with that expectation but it’s a great situation for the fans, players and entire club to be in.”

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