CORK City face their biggest test of the new league campaign when they travel away to champions Dundalk this Friday night.
This clash at Oriel Park pits the top two from last season against one another, and City manager John Caulfied expects a close encounter.
‘They are the team to beat. We have pushed them very close for two seasons and obviously we are trying to see can we do that little bit extra,’ Caulfield said.
‘It’s a tall order for us, but we have beaten them already this season (in the President’s Cup final) and we drew up there last season, so we have been very close.
‘It is about us making sure that we go out there with a proper game plan, that we have the attitude we had the other night and that we target the areas that will cause them trouble. It is important for us to get at them, show how good we are and play with the intensity that we can.
‘They have nine points out of nine, we have six out of nine. It is a tall ask and a big challenge to us, but, at the same time, we have potential in our team, we have goals in our team; it will take a massive effort, but that is what we need to do.’
City, who beat Longford 6-0 earlier in the week, are a work in progress, according to Caulfield.
‘I have said since the start of pre-season that I felt the new players coming in have given us a lot more options and we are more dynamic,’ the Cork manager explained.
‘Obviously, when you bring in so many new players, it does take a little bit of time, but the indications are that we are creating a lot of chances and we are scoring goals. There is still a lot of work in progress, but it was pleasing on Monday night (against Longford) because the attitude was good.’
Greg Bolger returns from suspension, but John Kavanagh and Garry Buckley are still ruled out. Caulfield also has concerns over the availability Gavan Holohan and Stephen Dooley, who picked up knocks in the Derry game.