League Preview: Waterford -v- Shamrock Rovers

Mon, Aug 19 2019

Waterford captain Rory Feely celebrates a goal with summer signing Walter Figueira. Credit: John-Paul McGinley (ETPhotos)

WATERFORD

A rare televised Monday night game sees Waterford host Shamrock Rovers in a game that was originally scheduled for May 31st.

The original date was postponed after Waterford had two players, Zack Elbouzedi and Aaron Drinan, called up for the Toulon Tournament.

The decision to postpone has arguably not helped the Blues as they had won three from five going into the game, but have since won just two of their ten games in all competitions.

Friday night’s 2-1 defeat to Cork City saw Alan Reynolds’ side slip beneath the Rebel Army into eighth position, four points ahead of Finn Harps in the relegation play-off spot.

Second-half goals from Conor McCarthy and former Waterford striker Mark O’Sullivan were enough to see John Cotter’s side through despite JJ Lunney’s late consolation.

“Shamrock Rovers are pushing Dundalk at the top of the table for a reason so it offers another challenge to us with the two games in short succession [after Friday’s defeat],” Reynolds told the club’s website.

“We were disappointed with Friday but we have to switch focus to Monday straight away. We trained this morning (Sunday) and we’re happy to have another game straight away.

“It was a tight game here earlier in the season but they had a good win over Derry [at the weekend] so we have to be ready for what they’ll throw at us.”

Elbouzedi, Will Fitzgerald and former Rovers man Michael O’Connor all miss out with injury but midfielder Shane Duggan returns after missing the Cork game with suspension.

SHAMROCK ROVERS

Shamrock Rovers can close the gap on first-place Dundalk to four points – albeit with two extra games played – with victory over the Blues.

An Aaron McEneff penalty against his former club and Aaron Greene’s eighth of the season saw Rovers to a hard-fought win away to Derry City on Friday.

David Parkhouse saw a penalty saved by Hoops keeper Alan Mannus at 1-0 before Greene latched onto Jack Byrne’s pass to seal it.

Nevertheless, the Hoops lost further ground on Dundalk as the Lilywhites boosted their goal differential with a 5-0 thumping of Finn Harps at Oriel Park.

So it’s crucial, then, that Stephen Bradley’s side continue the pursuit and maintain the pressure with another three points on the road.

“They lost a big game against Cork on Friday and they’ll be looking to put that right against us,” Bradley told the club’s media team.

“We’ve got to make sure we’re ready for that and we’ve got to be at our best to get three points.

“We came from behind to win down there in the first game of the season but I think we’re in a better place than where we were then in terms of how we’re playing.”

Neil Farrugia continues to miss out with a hamstring injury picked up before he joined the club, while Joey O’Brien will sit the game out with a knock, and Dan Carr has left to join Apollon Limassol.

Referee: Rob Harvey.

MATCH STATS

The Blues’ goals-against tally of 39 goals is the third-worst in the league, reflective of their position in the table, though their tally of 31 scored does put them in the top half.

Rovers, by contrast, have the second-meanest defence in the league and the second-highest number of goals scored – also reflective of their position in second.

This is the third time the sides have met this season, and the second at the RSC, and both games to date have yielded the same outcome.

Rovers battled from behind to win 2-1 on the opening day at the RSC before once again winning 2-1 in Tallaght in April thanks to goals from Sean Kavanagh and Roberto Lopes.

BETTING

Waterford 11/2; Draw 10/3; 2/5.

PREDICTION

Waterford 1 – 3 Shamrock Rovers

Waterford

Injured: Zack Elbouzedi, Will Fitzgerald, Michael O’Connor.

Doubtful: None.

Suspended: None.

Shamrock Rovers

Injured: Neil Farrugia, Joey O’Brien.

Doubtful: None.

Suspended: None.