Cork City manager speaks to Off The Ball with his side sitting 12 points clear at the top of the Premier Division
Cork City manager John Caulfield feels there is even more to come from his team despite an outstanding start to the League of Ireland season.
The club have made the second greatest start of all time to a Premier Division season in the history of the league and despite their 12 game winning streak coming to an end with a 1-1 draw at Galway United last time out, they hold a 12 point lead at the top of the table.
"It's a phenomenal start but as I keep saying, the league is a marathon not a sprint and we're only just over the first third [of the season]," said Caulfield on Off The Ball in an in-depth interview about the club as well as the general health of the league.
"If I'm honest, I think we can still go further. I think the first third is always a good indication of where you are but I think crucially you're coming up to the mid-season break which is effectively is only a week off and then you run into the second part of the season and Europe. And then July and August are really massive months because with Europe, it's three games a week and the FAI Cup thrown in.
"You end up with a lot of midweek matches, so that's a big test for any squad and any team and so the first third of the season indicates where you're at and it's showing us to be in a good place with a strong squad. But certainly I feel there is more to come. We're scoring quite a few goals, we're keeping quite a few clean sheets but I still feel the next part of the season, we need to kick on and see in September hopefully that we're still in the running for the league at that stage."
Cork City have managed to build a core involving a significant number of local players and Caulfield spoke of some of the advantages of drawing from a pool of local talent.
"I think in any provincial club, the more local players you have, it's better certainly from a financial point of view because they all live locally," he said.
"In the bigger picture, it doesn't matter. The main thing is that when players come in from the outside, you just get captivated by coverage, the support and it's just overwhelming."
He also spoke about how Sean Maguire has developed under his tutelage and how difficult it is for an Irish club to keep hold of a player if an English club make a bid for their services.
Caulfield also touched on what the League of Ireland needs in order to thrive.
"I think our standards should be from the top down, not from the bottom up," he said, before suggesting an idea he would like to see.
"I firmly believe that we should have an FAI League of Ireland Committee basically employed by the FAI - four or five people that just run our league full time and are given financial support to put in marketing ideas and just run our league from people who are really passionate about our league just to bring it to another level because I think people can see tremendous quality there but perception isn't that."