Unbeaten Longford Town will take on the challenge of Limerick in a crucial clash in the SSE Airtricity First Division at City Calling Stadium on Saturday evening (kick-off 7.30pm).
De Town go into this game with the intention of maintaining the only unbeaten record across the League of Ireland and bolstering their promotion aspirations with a home win over the Super Blues.
Longford kept their copybook unblemished in the league with a hard fought 0-0 draw away to Cobh Ramblers at St. Colman’s Park to move into second place behind leaders Cabinteely.
It was a cagey tense affair with both sides vying for a win but, despite their endeavour, it was defences who came out on top and the game ended in a stalemate.
The result stretched De Town’s unbeaten run in the league to eight matches having won 4 in a row prior to that with victories over Athlone Town (0-1), Shelbourne (2-0), Wexford (1-2), and Bray Wanderers (2-0).
Longford’s solitary defeat so far this season was a 3-0 hammering by Derry City at the Brandywell in the second round of the EA Sports Cup at the beginning of April.
The key to Longford’s success is arguably their defence, which has been the meanest in the League of Ireland.
They’ve kept six clean sheets in their eight league matches to date and that may prove to be a telling factor should the Midlanders end up in the mix for promotion come October.
Longford boss Neale Fenn has mixed fortunes on the injury front with striker Sam Verdon remaining side-lined for another 2 weeks.
However both strikers Aaron Dobbs and Jamie Doyle are available for selection again having missed out on the trip to Cobh last week. De Town have no suspensions for this week.
Limerick will make the tricky trip to the Midlands in a bid to get their promotion bid back on track with a win over high-flying Longford Town.
Limerick boss Tommy Barrett will have his side focus on matters on the pitch rather than off it with the Super Blues being the subject of speculation during the week about the possibility of investors pulling the plug on their interest in the club.
The Shannonsiders’ mini-revival came to an abrupt end last Friday night when they succumbed to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Shelbourne at Tolka Park.
Limerick found themselves under the cosh right from the off but managed to frustrate Shelbourne until a two=goal salvo in the final seven minutes of the first half from Karl Moore and Lorcan Fitzgerald had the home side firmly in command at the break.
The Drumcondra side failed to add to the scoreline, thanks largely to the heroics of young Limerick keeper Jack Brady who put in yet another impressive performance between the sticks.
The Super Blues had gone 5 league matches unbeaten having registered four wins over Cobh Ramblers (3-1), Cabinteely (1-2), Athlone Town (2-0), Galway United (0-1) and a 1-1 draw with Wexford at the Market’s Field.
Barrett has to cope without the services of long-term casualty Will Fitzgerald who is not expected to return until June and striker Kieran O’Hanlon who is still not ready to be available.
Referee: Alan Patchell
Longford Town and Limerick have already met once in the league this season in the opening fixture which ended in a fairly uneventful 0-0 draw at the Market’s Field in February.
De Town and the Super Blues have met each other 18 times in all competitions since 2009 with Limerick having the superior head-to-head record with eight wins to Longford’s four, and six draws.
Longford Town scored 20 goals in their 18 matches averaging 1.11 per game while Limerick scored 26 goals in their 18 matches averaging 1.44 per game.
Longford Town are currently in second place in the SSE Airtricity First Division on 18 points with five wins and three draws from their eight matches.
Limerick are currently in fifth place in the SSE Airtricity First Division on 15 points with four wins, three draws and two defeats from their nine matches.
Longford Town 2/5 Draw 3/1 Limerick 5/1
Longford Town 2-1 Limerick
Injuries: Sam Verdon.
Injuries: Will Fitzgerald, Kieran O’Hanlon.