City try to bridge pay gap
League champions Cork City have started work on keeping their title-winning squad intact, in the face of interest from rivals clubs, by promising to offer their players 52-week contracts.
City sealed the league on Tuesday night and can secure a first-ever double if they land the FAI Cup next month, but despite their success it will be a battle to retain their squad.
Striker Karl Sheppard has already been linked with a move to Dundalk while Shamrock Rovers are reportedly keen on Dubliner Steven Beattie, and City will improve conditions for players by offering new deals which will see the players paid in the off-season.
"I've been pushing all the way through to get to a stage where we can pay players for 52 weeks because it's immoral not to. This is their employment, this is their livelihood and at the end of the season when they finish, for three months they get nothing. It's wrong," says manager John Caulfield.
"I would be surprised if there was many fellas who wanted to leave."
Also tonight, Shamrock Rovers boss Stephen Bradley wants his players to show their true value away to Bray Wanderers and make amends for a 4-2 loss there earlier this season.
"The game out there at that point of the season typified our performances, I'd put it down as one of our worst performances this season," said Bradley.
"We showed when we played them in Tallaght that we were a different team at that stage of the season and I think it's important that we show that again tonight. We just need to perform to our levels and our standards."
Meanwhile, Dundalk are wary of the threat posed by Bohemians at Oriel Park.
"From what I've heard they played really well against Cork and maybe should have won the game," says Dundalk's Danish defender Niclas Vemmelund. "So it's going to be a really tough game, Bohemians are one of the good teams this year."