Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill praised the second half efforts of his side, as they came from a goal ...Sun, Jun 11 2017
Athlone Town are without a win in eight competitive games following their midweek elimination from the EA Sports Cup at the hands of Cabinteely as they prepare to host Wexford in Lissywollen (kick-off 7.45pm.
Despite Town’s terrible run they will take heart from the fact their last league win came against Wexford on matchday two.
Ricardo Monsanto's side showed green shoots of recovery at Waterford on Friday night as only a late penalty save from Matthew Connor stopped Athlone hauling back a two-goal deficit.
Monsanto will have Conor Barry and Jason Lyons available following their involvement with the Irish Colleges and Universities side during the week.
Barry was on the scoresheet as Ireland comprehensively beat their Scottish counterparts 6-1 in Oriam, Scotland.
Wexford travel to Athlone still in search of their first competitive win of the season, and they'll see a Town side who haven't won in eight games as the ideal opportunity.
Damien Locke's side have scored the fewest goals in the country this season (just four in eight) but face the side who've conceded the most (22).
Wexford saw an early lead turn into a narrow 2-1 defeat at home to Cobh Ramblers last time out, but Locke was encouraged by his young side's positive performance.
"The second half was possibly our best 45 minutes of the season,” Locke told the club's official website.
“Cobh couldn't get out of their own half, and we had numerous chances, but the ball just wouldn't break for us."
"We have plenty of positives to take in to the [Athlone] game as it's clear to see things are starting to click for us.
“Unfortunately at the moment, that little bit of luck others are getting in front of goal just isn't happening for us."
Locke will once again be without goalkeeper Graham Doyle – whose back injury brought to an end a run of 153 consecutive league starts – and striker Lee Duffy.
Midfielder Thomas Croke missed out on the Cobh clash due to illness but is fit again to take his place in the matchday squad.
Referee: Tom Dempsey.
Athlone and Wexford have met once so far this season, as goals from Jose Viegas and Colm Coss gave Town a 2-1 victory at Ferrycarrig Park.
The teams faced each other four times during Wexford Youths' 2015 First Division-winning season, with the eventual champions winning three from four.
The second meeting that season, at Ferrycarrig, was abandoned at half time with Wexford 2-0 up as the result of a generator fire. Wexford won the replay, also 2-0.
Athlone Town 6/4; Draw 5/2; Wexford 6/4.
Athlone Town 2 – 1 Wexford
Injured: Graham Doyle, Lee Duffy (both back).