Table toppers Shamrock Rovers welcome Waterford to Tallaght Stadium on Friday evening (kick off 8pm) with the Hoops looking to win their seventh game in a row.
Rovers left it late to beat the Blues in the RSC on the opening night of the season, while last week they dominated Cork City as the Hoops won 3-1 in Turner’s Cross – their first victory away to City since 2013.
“I thought we played well and fully deserved it,” was the assessment of Hoops Head Coach Stephen Bradley on the win in Cork when talking to his club’s website.
“We started really well and got an early goal from Sean Kavanagh. It really settled us. Then Aaron McEneff got a really good goal, his feet on the edge of the box were very good to go past the centre-half.”
City scored before the break but the Hoops grabbed a deserved third through Aaron McEneff off an assist from SSE Airtricity League Player of the Month winner from March Jack Byrne. “Aaron can score all types of goals, he can score goals from 30 yards or 5 yards, he’s a goalscorer.”
The Hoops currently are eight points clear at the top of the table but having required an injury time goal to beat the Blues earlier in the season, they know they need to be on top form if they are to claim all three points at Tallaght on Friday night.
“Waterford have players that can go anywhere and win a game. I think they’ve shown that this year when they travelled to Turner’s Cross and won well. There are some really good players in their team.
“It’s going to be a tough game and we saw that down there in the first game of the season. I thought we played well that night. It took us until the last kick of the game to win it. We saw on that night that Waterford are a dangerous team and have good attacking players so we have to be ready .
“We’ve been creating chances and scoring goals and we just need to stay focused in every game, keep moving the ball and creating chances.”
After last week’s loss to UCD, Waterford will be looking to get back to winning ways but face a difficult task in Tallaght. The visitors may well have felt hard done by to lose late on to Rovers at the start of the seaon but only two clubs have managed to avoid defeat to the Hoops this season.
“We were well beaten last week and we were all disappointed with it,” said Alan Reynolds speaking to his club’s media team on the eve of the match.
“We got back into the game and came in at half time at 2-1 but then to concede the third goal like we did just killed any momentum we had. The players were disappointed but we have to get going again and we know we’ve got to be better than that this week.”
Waterford’s only win on the road this season was against Cork City and they face a Rovers team who have won four and drawn one at home all year. The Blues finished in fourth place in the league last season just behind Shamrock Rovers.
“Rovers are top at the moment so that creates another massive challenge for us this week but it’s one that we relish. Waterford and Shamrock Rovers are big games and go back a long way so we’re looking forward to going to Tallaght.
"We've looked back over the UCD game and addressed different bits from it and we’ve built towards Friday's game.”
Referee: Robert Hennessy
Waterford have one win from the last five encounters against the Hoops. As well as the late win for Rovers in Waterford back in Februay, last season the Hoops beat the Blues twice (1-0 away and 3-1 in Tallaght in the final home game of the season) and drawing 1-1 at home with Waterford winning once thanks to a 2-1 scoreline in the RSC.
Shamrock Rovers’ Aaron McEneff is the top scorer in the league so far this season with five goals – he scored ten for Derry across the whole of last season’s league campaign.
Blues boss Alan Reynolds had two spells at Shamrock Rovers playing in the 2003 and 2007 seasons.
Shamrock Rovers 3/10; Draw 7/2; Waterford 10/1.
2-0 home win
Injured: Sam Bone
Doubtful: Greg Bolger, Dan Carr
Injured: Kenny Browne