cork struggle Healy optimistic
Interim gaffer in race against time
Friday's defeat at Bohemians shows that Colin Healy has a huge job on his hands to keep Cork City in the Premier Division.
A change in management often brings a bounce to a football team - but Neale Fenn's departure and Healy's interim appointment on Thursday came too recently to boost morale at Turner's Cross.
The reality is that Cork have just 360 minutes of playing time left in a season that was extended by a week yesterday - a mere four games - to get themselves out of the automatic relegation spot and above fellow strugglers Finn Harps.Climbing
At this stage, Cork fans would gratefully accept climbing above the Ballybofey club and landing a play-off place against a First Division side, though even that comes with no guarantee of survival.
"Do we have enough to stay up? If we get in more coaching sessions with them, spend more time with them, I'd like to think so," Healy insists, before emphasising: "We have to think so."
It doesn't get any easier, though. "We've got four games left and a big game against Dundalk on Tuesday," Healy adds. "We've got to get the players ready for that."
Healy made five changes from the side that lost to St Patrick's Athletic in what was Fenn's last game in charge. Jake O'Brien, Ricardo Dinanga, Dale Holland, Cory Galvin and Cian Bargary all started.
It's perhaps no surprise he has given City's first 11 a more youthful look, as he's the head of the club's academy and manager of their Under-19 side.
"I know the players, I've worked with them. I think we have enough, but we need to get on the training pitch and work on a few things."
One thing the former Irish international has to sort out is their leaky defence. Friday's 3-0 defeat to Bohs brings their conceded total to 25 - easily the worst in the Premier Division.
And there's little time for the training pitch this week. After Tuesday's game against Dundalk, Healy has to prepare the Leesiders for the visit of Europa League-chasers Waterford this coming Saturday.
"We leaked some silly goals," concedes the City boss, before defending his team selection. "In the second half, they gave little glimpses of how good they are."
Meanwhile, the fixture list has been extended by a week due to the recent Covid-19 outbreaks at clubs.
The Premier Division will now conclude on Sunday, November 8, while the First Division will end on Tuesday, October 27, with all fixtures scheduled for the same time and date.
The promotion/relegation play-off series has also been rescheduled. The First Division play-off semi-finals will take place on Saturday, October 31, the First Division play-off final on Friday, November 6 and the promotion/relegation play-off final on Saturday, November 14.