Cork prepare to conserve energy and mount Cypriot comeback

John Caulfield’s side are trailing 1-0 ahead of their second leg with AEK Larnaca and they will need to cope with the heat in the return with temperatures of 27 degrees forecast for kick-off time. The League of Ireland leaders bid farewell to Sean Maguire and Kevin O’Connor after this game – the latter is an injury doubt – and Caulfield feels the away side are capable of getting on the scoresheet.

But he acknowledges that an experienced Larnaca side will attempt to dominate possession and drain the battery level of the visitors.

“It will be difficult but we think we can play better than we did last week,” said Caulfield, reflecting on a first leg of few chances where City were hit by a corner-kick concession with 20 minutes remaining. “We know it will be difficult, we are one down, but we have had a chat about it and we have a game-plan.”

“We know they will keep the ball and try to tire us out, but we have to conserve our energy and, at the same time, try to prevent them from scoring and keep ourselves in the game.

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“Last week, a lot of the lads felt they didn’t play as well as they could have but we have a plan in place. We want to keep the tie alive and, the longer the game goes on, we feel we can create opportunities with the pace we have.

“We certainly believe we that can score over here and make it interesting. There is a tremendous desire and determination amongst the squad that we will give a good performance.”

O’Connor and Stephen Dooley sat out Sunday’s win at Bray and are injury concerns but experienced centre-half Alan Bennett is back in contention after featuring in that game. He was missed last week.

AEK Larnaca v Cork City, Live, eir Sport 1, 6.0pm

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