Wexford Youths welcome Cork City to Ferrycarrig Park knowing they have little room for error in their pursuit of first-place Peamount United (kick-off 6.40pm).
Last season’s treble-champions have dropped five points behind the flawless Peas with just over one round of games played.
They did overcome one potential banana skin last weekend when they comfortably saw of DLR Waves at Jackson Park despite the majority of the first team missing out.
Manager Tom Elmes gave opportunities to promising underage players like Vanessa Ogbonna and Blessing Kingsley and the experienced Katrina Parrock led by example.
Parrock settle Youths’ nerves early doors with the opening goal before an own goal and a Ciara Delaney strike from her own half sealed a 3-0 win.
“We’d prepared for it the last couple of weeks and credit to the girls out there – they were excellent,” Elmes told extratime.ie
“It just shows the strength-in-depth we’ve got this year and it’s building momentum every week. Getting three points was really vital for us.
“Katrina has experience and it’s a no-brainer she got the armband. There were a lot of young players, a lot of players that might not have had much gametime.
“They needed someone to toe the line a little bit and give them communication and encouragement on the pitch, and Katrina can do that.”
Wexford are likely to have the likes of top scorer Rianna Jarrett and captain Kylie Murphy available once again after missing out last week.
Cork City will look to arrest their three-game losing streak when they travel to the champions on Saturday evening.
Rónán Collins’ side have lost their last three games at home so a change of scenery may not to any more, although the opposition could hardly be tougher.
City were beaten 3-0 by league leaders Peamount United at Bishopstown last week, Amber Barrett scoring twice either side of an Áine O’Gorman goal.
“We’ve had 4 home games recently so back on the road this weekend to play Wexford,” Collins told the club’s website.
“Training has went well again and the girls continue to work hard. It’s our last game for a number of weeks so we’re very hungry to put in a strong performance.
“Wexford as always are experienced hard to break down and have a lot of quality up high that can hurt teams.”
Defender Ciara McNamara, who reached the milestone of 100 appearances last week, added: “I think we know we are better than our last couple of results suggest.
“As a group we know what’s needed to get a result from the game and we are prepared to work hard to get it.”
Megan Sheehan and Savannah McCarthy are both rated as doubtful, while Lauren Egbonliu has picked up a long-term injury, and Eve Badana and Stacey Paul O’Regan are unavailable.
City and Wexford last met on matchday two in Bishopstown, as Rianna Jarrett’s brace and another from Aoife Slattery saw Youths to a comfortable 3-0 win.
Wexford Youths 1/7; Draw 9/2; Cork City 10/1.
Wexford Youths 2 – 0 Cork City
Injured: Lauren Egbuloniu.
Doubtful: Savannah McCarthy, Megan Sheehan.
Suspended: Eva Badana, Stacey Paul O’Regan.