Waterford have a chance to restore the four-point buffer between themselves in third and Shamrock Rovers as they seek back-to-back home wins over the champions (kick-off 8pm).
A disappointing run of form has seen the Blues take just a point from their last three games, allowing the Hoops to close the gap from seven points to just one.
Last time out, Waterford failed to make a man advantage for the entire first half count as they were beaten 2-1 by Limerick at the Markets Field.
Dave Webster was sent off and Paul Keegan missed a penalty as Bastien Hery pulled Waterford level after the break, but Limerick captain Shane Duggan struck late for Limerick.
“We know what we have to do to put right the run we’re on and we’re looking to do that,” Blues boss Alan Reynolds told the club's media team.
“The players aren’t shying away from the results and they’re working as hard as ever in training.
“Cork will prove another difficult test on Friday and we’re all looking forward to it. John always has his teams well prepared so we’ll have to match that.
“The RSC is in great condition which is a credit to the ground staff, so it’s set up to be a good match.”
New signings Cory Galvin and Renar Rode are unavailable, while Webster is suspended, while Keegan and Derek Daly are both doubts.
Cork City will return to the top of the table with a win of any description on Friday as leaders Dundalk's game with Shamrock Rovers was postponed.
The Rebel Army had taken advantage of the Lilywhites' European run to return to the top of the table, albeit with two extra games played, last weekend.
A comfortable 3-1 victory over Bray Wanderers, with a Karl Sheppard brace either side of Garry Buckley's goal, sending them temporarily back to the summit.
Any repeat of that outcome on Friday night will see John Caulfield's side back to the top, at least until Dundalk make up one of those games in hand.
“We know we have to keep the pressure on,” Caulfield told the club's media team.
“We are going to Waterford, which is a great venue but a difficult place to go.
“We are getting to the stage in the season where we need to keep picking up three points to keep the pressure on.
“We know it will be an incredibly tough game but, at the same time, we bounced back with two wins last week and we are happy with that.
“At one stage it looked like [Waterford] would challenge for the title but, unfortunately for them, they hit a bit of a blip and it knocked them back.
“We have played each other a number of times this year and we know all about each other; every game has been tight and tough, and we expect nothing different on Friday night.”
Colm Horgan remains sidelined, while Garry Buckley is a doubt, but both Gearoid Morrissey and Conor McCarthy could return to contention.
Referee: Neil Doyle
The three meetings between the sides in the league this season have seen two wins for Cork City and one for Waterford, with the home side victorious on each occasion.
Goals from Garry Buckley and Gearoid Morrissey inflicted Waterford's first defeat of the season at Turner's Cross in February.
Waterford turned the tables with a 2-1 win in April that ended with four players and both managers being sent off, and lengthy bans for Stanley Aborah and Bastien Hery.
Most recently, goals from Buckley, Graham Cummins and Kieran Sadlier earned the Leesiders a comfortable 3-0 win at the Cross in June.
Waterford 3/1; Draw 5/2; Cork City 5/6.
Waterford 1 – 2 Cork City
Injured: Cory Galvin.
Doubtful: Derek Daly, Paul Keegan.
Suspended: Dave Webster.
Unavailable: Renars Rode (awaiting international clearance).
Injured: Colm Horgan.
Doubtful: Garry Buckley, Conor McCarthy, Gearoid Morrissey.