Cork City cannot wait for the Cork Airport Friendly Series visit of visit of West Ham United on Sunday.

The Rebel Army may have endured some difficult moments in the League of Ireland Premier Division in recent weeks, losing 3-0 at UCD in their last league match and by the same scoreline at Drogheda United in the League Cup quarter-finals.

Cork's goalkeeping coach Anthony Fennelly is hoping Sunday's meeting with the Hammers will provide the Leesiders with a much-needed boost ahead of the second half of their season.


"We're looking forward to the game and it'll be a good occasion for both teams and a good workout for yourselves," Fennelly, who attended West Ham's training session at Fota Island Resort on Friday to watch Martyn Margetson work with Jussi Jaaskelainen and Adrian, told West Ham TV.

Cork will prepare for Sunday's match by hosting League of Ireland champions Sligo Rovers at Turner's Cross on Friday evening. With Cork sitting seventh in the 12-team table, Fennelly is hoping for a victory.

"We have a big game ourselves on Friday night so Sunday's game will provide a good opportunity for the boys who don't get a run out, as well as our regular starters. We should get a good crowd in.

"We finished sixth last season but at the minute we probably need a win. We have a massive game on Friday night against Sligo Rovers and we're hoping to get three points and start pushing up the table. By the end of the season, we hope to push for a European spot.

"To be honest about it, we should probably be doing better than we are with the players that we have, but we're hopeful Friday night will be the start of that. We signed a new striker from Shamrock Rovers the other day, Ciaran Kilduff, so we're hoping that he'll step up to the mark and score a few goals."

While Kilduff could play on Sunday, Fennelly said Cork also possess a number of other talented players. The club produced the likes of Republic of Ireland international strikers Kevin Doyle and Shane Long in the past and the coach says the production line has to continue to run if they are to thrive financially.

"Obviously we wouldn't be at the Premier League standard quite yet, but there are some very good players here. We've got young lads like Gearoid Morrissey and our goalkeeper Mark McNulty is very good and experienced. We've got other lads like Colin Healy, who played for Sunderland. Hopefully, we'll give you a good run out.

"There have been a lot of lads who have gone over [to England] like Kevin Doyle and Shane Long, who have done quite well in the Premier League. It's a good stepping-stone if you want to go across the water.

"Cork is still a massive club and one of the biggest in the country, so it's a good place to start."

Fennelly said everyone associated with Cork City is looking forward to Sunday's game, with the club hoping for a bumper gate comprised of supporters of both sides.

"We played a few games against English clubs last year but West Ham are obviously a massive club. It's a big occasion for us and I think the lads will really enjoy testing themselves against Premier League opposition to see where they are at and where they need to get to.

"Especially for the younger boys, it's a benchmark to show where they can get to in their careers. It's a good occasion for them.

"It's massive for us. The way things are financially in Ireland at the moment, it's hugely important for us to get a good turnout and I think we will. There should be a good couple of thousand there as Cork people generally support their sport pretty well and hopefully everyone will enjoy it."

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