Waterford will look to continue their fantastic run of home form at the RSC on Friday night with a big win over Gerard Lyttle’s struggling Sligo Rovers on the South-East coast (kick-off 7.45pm).
The Blues picked up a much-needed home win last time out in the league against Bray Wanderers and then backing it up with a low-key Munster Derby win over Cork City on Monday night in the EA Sports Cup.
“It was great to win on Monday night against Cork City but we need to park that result now and look forward to the game against Sligo Rovers,” maanger Alan Reynolds told the club’s media team.
“I didn’t expect the game to go to 120 minutes on Monday never mind penalties so it’s always good when you come out on the right side of the result at the end of it.
“I have to credit the players because they worked hard and it also gave me the chance to give the players who have been knocking on my door the opportunity to play.”
With Waterford beating Sligo Rovers last time out in the Showgrounds with what was almost the last kick of the game, Reynolds noted that he is expecting a tough battle at the RSC from the Bit O’ Red.
“We got lucky in Sligo earlier in the season with the last minute Courtney Duffus winner and I’ve seen them play a couple of games.
“They are decent and want to play the right way but we have to focus on ourselves. I think that if we are at our best at home we’ll take some stopping.
“We have an unbeaten record at home and we’ll be hoping to build on that against Sligo. We’re happy to take one game at a time and see where it takes us.”
However, Reynolds may have to plan on heading into this game without the services of on-loan Cork City defender John Kavanagh who has been listed as a doubt.
However the influential Stanley Aborah returns to the fold after missing out on recent weeks thanks to a suspension picked up in the big Munster Derby win over Cork City a few weeks back.
After a concerning start to the season for Gerard Lyttle and his Sligo Rovers side, the former Cliftonville manager will be looking for his side to build on some improved recent showings.
Sligo picked up a point in a 0-0 draw at home to St Patrick's Athletic on Friday night to stay one point clear of Limerick in the relegation play-off spot.
"I feel we are getting a small bit of momentum in terms of our performances,” Lyttle told the club's official website.
“After the Derry game we had a clear the air talk and since then there's been a greater intensity in many aspects.
"The back line was solid against St Pat's and we created chances. Every player put in a good performance and all that evaded us was the goal. It was obviously pleasing for the likes of John Mahon and Jack Keaney.
“There was a good balance in that it was such a young team, but you also had Eduardo [Pincelli] and Raff [Cretaro] that gave them a hand and brought a lot to the side. There were a lot of positives.”
However, Lyttle is well aware of the challenge that both he, and his side faces on Friday evening as Sligo Rovers look to become the first side to take points off Waterford at the RSC.
"I don't think the table lies. Waterford are there are merit. In the last game it was tight, we had more possession and conceded with almost the last kick of the game.
“We're going down there confident because on our day we can beat any team in the league.
"It's disappointing to be without David Cawley and the manner that came - he has been so consistent - but we have to cope with that. We're looking forward to the game."
Lyttle is likely to have selection issues that he must contend with as the influential trio of Adam Morgan, Seamus Sharkey and Rhys McCabe are all doubts while goalkeeper Michael Schlingermann (injury) and David Cawley (suspension) are both out of the challenge against the Blues.
Despite this, Lyttle does have some respite on the injury front as club captain Kyle Callan-McFadden returns following a spell on the treatment table at the Showgrounds.
Referee: Robert Harvey
Last time these sides met, Waterford came out on top in a 2-1 win over the Bit O’Red as Courtney Duffus popped up with a very late winner at the Showgrounds to break Sligo hearts.
Last time Sligo travelled to Waterford they came out on top in a 2-0 FAI Cup win at the RSC as Danny Ventre and Anthony Elding secured the win against the then-First Division Blues.
Waterford have the best home form in the Premier Division this season after winning all six of their games at the RSC on their return to the Premier Division after a ten-year absence of Premier Division football.
Waterford 8/11 ; Draw 5/2 ; Sligo Rovers 7/2.
Waterford 2–0 Sligo Rovers
Doubtful: John Kavanagh.
Injured: Michael Schlingermann.
Doubtful: Adam Morgan, Seamus Sharkey, Rhys McCabe.
Suspended: David Cawley.