Athlone Town will be full of confidence heading into tonight’s league opener at home to Wexford having picked up a very impressive 1-0 victory against Dundalk midweek and advancing in the Leinster Senior Cup.
Despite finishing bottom of the First Division for the past three seasons there is an air of positivity around the club ahead of the 2019 season with a new manager on board, a brand new pitch and a host of new players too.
Manager Terry Butler has recruited impressively during the off-season bringing in plenty of experience in Darren Meenan, Gareth McCaffrey and Rhys Gorman with exciting young players Kaleem Simon and Kealen Dillon coming on board for the season too.
Wexford finished in ninth place last season and ten points ahead of tonight’s opponents Athlone Town.
New manager Brian O’Sullivan is expecting a tough challenge on the opening night of the First Division season but is looking forward to the challenge.
Wexford enjoyed victory over Athlone on two occasions last season with both wins coming at Ferrycarrig Park.
"Athlone have brought in a lot of good players, they're looking strong this year with the likes of Rhys Gorman and Darren Meenan.” said O’Sullivan looking ahead to the opening fixture.
We're looking to get our season off to a good start, give our fans a bit of a lift. Our squad is ready, we added Sean Callan this week, he's a promising defender and it's an area we wanted to strengthen a bit more and maybe we can still add one more new player to the squad, we'll see."
Earlier this week Wexford lost out to St. Pats in the first round of the Leinster Senior Cup on a 3-0 score line.
Despite the result, O’Sullivan took positives from the game and with certain aspects of the game.
"We did well for an hour or so but when we got into the final third it kept breaking down for us, they were obviously a bit better and cleverer than us around the box.
Our team shape was generally good, energy was good, everybody put in a decent shift so I can't really complain too much. It's just moving forward we need to be better in that final third, getting our midfield up to support the front players a bit better. But it wasn't a bad performance against top quality full time opposition."
Referee: Adriano Reale
These sides met each other on three occasions in the league last season with Wexford coming out on top in both of their home games 7-0 and 2-0 on the last day of the season. Athlone won their home game between the sides 3-0 back in July.
Wexford lost ten of their thirteen games on the road last season picking up just seven points from a possible thirty nine available
Athlone Town enjoyed an incredible result in midweek knocking Dundalk out of the Leinster Senior Cup in the opening round at Oriel Park
Athlone Evs; Draw 13/5; Wexford 15/8
Athlone Town 2-1 Wexford F.C