Longford Town welcome near neighbours and crisis club Athlone Town to the City Calling Stadium as Neale Fenn’s Red and Black Army will be out to rectify their mistakes of last weekend’s ill-tempered defeat away to Shelbourne at Tolka Park. (Kick-Off is on Saturday at 7.30pm).
After picking up a healthy four points from a possible six, Longford went into their last game with confidence but were eventually undone thanks to a David O’Sullivan hat-trick in Drumcondra as the “Red and Black” legend came back to haunt his former club.
With local rivals Athlone coming to town in a battle of the Midlands two most recognisable clubs, Neale Fenn will surely see this as the perfect opportunity to get back into winning ways at the very first time against the Lissywoolen side.
“De Town” head into this game with some selection issues as both Dylan McGlade and Sam Verdon miss out through suspension while Darren Meenan also misses out after suffering a hamstring strain early on in last week’s defeat to Shelbourne.
Peter Hopkins is also a doubt having suffered a dead leg in the bruising encounter last time out, whilst Alan Kehoe is also likely to be unavailable after suffering an ankle injury in the build-up to the 3-0 victory against Wexford FC at the City Calling Stadium.
While not having the glorious significance and stature of years gone by, it is clear that both Daire Doyle and Neale Fenn will not be taking this latest assignment lightly in what will be the latest instalment of the Midlands “El Clasico”.
Athlone Town’s season has gone as many would have predicted as the league’s oldest club have struggled to find their feet in what must be described as one of the most competitive First Division’s in recent memory, having suffered four defeats in as many games against recently relegated Galway United and Drogheda United, while also going down to South Dublin pairing Cabinteely and UCD in more recent encounters.
Bizarrely and or unfortunately, whichever way you would like to put it, Athlone Town are likely to head into this game for the second game running without the presence of a recognised goalkeeper in their matchday squad due to either injury and or work commitments taking centre stage for the two registered Athlone netminders.
Saying that, Luke Kelly, who deputised in goal last time out against Cabinteely acquitted himself quite well but still couldn’t prevent his side falling to a 2-1 home defeat against Cabinteely in the Athlone Town Stadium.
Athlone are yet to provide team news, but it would be expected to see that Aaron Callaghan will opt for the same side that battled bravely against Pat Devlin’s Cabinteely.
Referee: Marc Lynch
Last time Athlone Town visited the City Calling stadium, they were on the end of a seven goals to one hammering against a re-invigorated Neale Fenn Longford Town FC side. Athlone remarkably started the game with only two available substitutes from the bench.
Longford Town are unbeaten in nine games against their bitter rivals from Westmeath, with Athlone’s last victory over their Midlands rivals coming way back in 2013 as both sides were slugging it out for promotion back to the Premier Division.
Longford Town record goal scorer David O’Sullivan scored a remarkable hat-trick of hat-tricks against Roddy Collins’ Athlone Town side last season before the former Wayside Celtic hitman decided to up sticks and swap the Midlands for a spell with Owen Heary’s Shelbourne side.
Longford Town 1/25; Draw 9/1; Athlone Town 30/1.
Longford Town 4-0 Athlone Town
Injured: Alan Kehoe, Darren Meenan.
Doubtful: Peter Hopkins.
Suspended: Sam Verdon, Dylan McGlade.