It is derby day for Waterford as they welcome Munster rivals Cork City at the RSC for their second meeting of the season (kick off 7:45) and they will have to push to their back of their minds the the denial of club’s licence to play in the Europa League qualifiers.
After Monday’s draw away to Sligo, their third consecutive away fixture, Waterford will be looking to go one better with the visit of seventh place Cork City.
With both teams level on points and a point above the relegation zone, everything is to play for between the old rivals in tonight’s encounter.
Taking everything into account, Blues boss Alan Reynolds was keen to focus on the home derby game.
“It’s been a busy spell for us with three away games in a row since our last home match at the RSC, so it’ll be good to get back there this weekend.”
With only one point in their last three games, Reynolds was still positive in his outlook following their 0-0 draw in Sligo on Monday,
“Monday was a deserved point in Sligo. We created some excellent chances and could have won the game on the night.
“It was important we got something from the game and kept a clean sheet and we did that well. We made some changes from the previous game and lads are now starting to really compete for places.
In team news, the only absentee is defender Kenny Browne.
The Rebel Army go again with the cross border visit to Waterford, as they look to get their first win in five games.
Just one point above the relegation zone after Monday’s 2-1 loss to UCD, it has not been the most ideal start to the season for City.
Gary O’Neil’s 90th minute penalty for UCD piled pressure on City who dropped to seventh on Monday to lend an air of frustration around the club.
Cork City manager John Caulfield was quick in addressing this ahead of Friday’s tie, stressing the belief he had with the team and his confidence in turning the season around,
“We had a chat with the players on Wednesday morning and there was a good discussion with the lads. They are disappointed, but it is a very tight-knit group and we are all working very hard.
“We can see the talent these guys have and I believe in them. We just know that, in the last two games, we have let points slip and that is disappointing because our performances have indicated that we should have taken more points."
“As a management team, we have been here a long time and we have had spells before where things have not gone for us, but you just have to get your head down and work hard. We are going through a difficult spell, but I believe in these lads.
“Do I think we should be higher up the table? I do. Do I think we can climb up the table and get into the top four? Absolutely. We are totally determined that we will turn it around.”
Caulfield rallied his team to make amends at the expense of their Munster rivals,
“Waterford have a very strong squad and excellent players. The RSC is always a difficult venue for us, so we know it will be one hell of a battle and we have to be ready for it.
“We are going down there to try and get a positive result; in the last two games, we have been close, but we haven’t done it, so all the lads are bursting for Friday night to see if we can turn it around. There is no-one more frustrated than the players, and we will go there Friday night and give everything we have.”
Referee: Neil Doyle.
This will be the second league meeting between the sides of 2019, following the Blues 2-0 win at Turners Cross last February.
The RSC has been a quagmire for John Caulfield across the last number of seasons, as his side have only one win their since 2017.
A drawn friendly in 2017, saw Waterford claim a league win and an EA Sports Cup victory over City the following season, as City’s only success at the site came in last July’s 2-1 win.
Waterford 8/5 Draw; 2/1 Cork City 7/4.
Waterford 1-1 Cork City
Injured: Kenny Browne.
Injured: Dáire O’Connor, Colm Horgan, Cian Murphy, Karl Sheppard, Alan Bennett
Suspended: Gary Comerford.