Waterford United -v- Athlone TownFri, Aug 10 2012
Having returned to winning ways last weekend, Waterford United once again look to further close the gap on the top two when Athlone Town visit the RSC this Friday evening (kick-off: 7,45pm).
The Blues 2-0 win away to Mervue United saw the gap drop to four points following the scoreless draw played out by the top two. Sean Maguire and David Breen grabbed the goals in the away win and Paul O’Brien’s side will look to continue their excellent form of late.
Daragh Walshe and Gary Dunphy continue to miss out with long-term injuries, but Craig Burns is available again after suspension. Peter Keegan and Ben Ryan both face late fitness tests while Dylan Mernagh should be fit following a back injury sustained in the win away to Mervue United.
Blues boss Paul O’Brien was pleased with the win last weekend but knows Athlone will be a tough challenge.
"I felt we were in control throughout after Seanie [Maguire] put us one up early on. We played some excellent football at times, and now we just need to sharpen up on our end product. Once again injuries played a part in the game, but those that stepped in showed again the quality and desire to succeed that runs through this group."
"Athlone will be tough opposition as they proved on their last visit to the RSC, but we see this as a challenge to be overcome as it gives us a great opportunity to build on the gains of last week."
Athlone Town will look to close the fifteen-point gap between the two sides when they make their second trip to the RSC this season.
Manager Mike Kerley will be looking to build on his side’s 1-1 draw in Waterford earlier this season, despite having to play with ten men for the entire second half.
Injuries and suspensions make the tie a little harder for the visitors with long term injury victim Paul Danaher missing out after undergoing successful surgery to his knee. Doubts also remain over Noel McGee, Eric Molloy and Damien Rushe, while Niall Scullion missed out due to a one game suspension.
The trio of Scott Gaynor, Garvan Broughall and Stephen Relihan are due to return from the USA at the end of August and should strengthen the squad further towards the end of the season.
Referee: Kevin O’Regan
Since returning to the First Division in 2008, Waterford United have not lost to Athlone Town. The 15 meetings between the sides have ended in eight wins for the Blues, seven draws.
Waterford United are currently on a ten game unbeaten run while Athlone have failed to win in their last five games.
Waterford United 4/11, Draw 3/1, Athlone Town 7/1
The Blues return to winning ways last weekend should give them enough belief to overcome Athlone on Friday night. Sean Maguire to score in a 3-1 win for the home side.
Waterford United Injury News: Daragh Walshe, Gary Dunphy.
Waterford United Suspension News: None
Athlone Town Injury News: Paul Danaher, Noel McGee, Eric Molloy, Damien Rushe
Athlone Town Suspension News: Niall Scullion.
Brendan White is Extratime News Editor and is responsible for the news section of Extratime.ie. Brendan also covers matches in Dublin and Waterford. You can contact Brendan at email@example.com or on twitter @whitebrendan.