With the FAI announcement of a 12 team Premier Division again for next season, Waterford United and Longford Town face off on Friday night in the RSC in a game that takes on an even greater significance. Kick-off, 7:45pm.
After a weekend off last week, Paul O’Brien’s side have their sights set on Longford Town and second place in the table. They look to keep pressure on league leaders Limerick, and will look to make home advantage count this weekend.
The sides are separated by one point in the table, with their goal difference also at the minimum mark. Despite a poor FAI cup result against Mervue United, The Blues bounced back with a 1-0 win away to SD Galway to keep pressure on the top two. A win for The Blues would be massive, with Longford facing Limerick next weekend, making the final matches very interesting.
Waterford United welcome back Daragh Walshe from injury while striker Sean Maguire is doubtful. Gary Dunphy and Jack Doherty miss the game through injury while Paul Carey an additional one-match suspension for his sending off from the substitutes bench against Mervue United.
Blues boss Paul O’Brien was happy to get their Cup exit off their minds after a 1-0 win last time out. "The win is important to keep the pressure on Limerick and Longford and we achieved our aim. We will go all out to win our remaining four games and see where that will take us. The players responded very well after the disappointment of last Monday which was very important, and we need to drive on in this regard."
With just three points keeping Longford Town behind league leaders Limerick, this is a vital match in more than one sense. A win on Friday night, and a win against Limerick next weekend could see Longford in pole position to win promotion to the Premier Division.
Last weekend Longford overcame Wexford Youths 2-0, with goals from Karl Bermingham and Thomas Crawley. Their last four league matches have secured two home wins, but a draw in Athlone and a defeat against Finn Harps have prevented Longford from moving away from Waterford United and pushing closer to Limerick.
The stats also help Longford Town, as they have yet to be defeated on the road, with eight wins and four draws from their 12 league matches outside Flancare Park.
Referee: Keith Callanan
Both teams enter the game in exactly the same recent form. From their last four league games, both sides have won two, drawn one and lost one.
Longford Town are the only side unbeaten away from home in the First Division table.
Waterford United were 11 points behind Longford Town after their last meeting in the RSC, now the gap is one point.
Waterford United: EVENS, Draw 11/5, Longford Town 5/2.
Waterford United 2-1 Longford Town.