With only six league games left the Town face a very tough away encounter at the RSC on Friday night where they play the form team in the First Division.
Last season Waterford made a poor start but came very strong in the second half and got up to the play-off position and this season they have a similar situation and must be favoured to at least be in the play-off position at the end of the current season.
Some months ago Paul O’Brien was sacked (or retired) by Waterford and since then the new management team have really pushed the team up the table. The make up of the management team is sketchy but by all accounts the current manager could be a former Town player. As the table stands we are just ahead of Waterford on goal difference. In the three meetings this season the Town have won two and drawn once. The first meeting in Longford ended 2-1 to us, goals from Michael Isichei and David O’Sullivan after Paudie Quinn gave the visitors the lead. The next game at the RSC ended 1-1, Michael Coady gave the blues a 15th minute lead but David O’Sullivan levelled in the 88th minute. The third meeting ended 2-1 to the Town. David O’Sullivan gave the Town the lead after former Longford keeper Hyland was red carded. Willie Tyrell scored the second goal while Jack Doherty converted a penalty for Waterford and the exciting young prospect has since gone to England in signing for Ipswich Town.
Last season the teams met four times in the league and it was honours even with two wins each. The teams also met in the play-offs where Waterford won 2-0 in Flancare Park and the game at the RSC ended 1-1. Waterford then lost the next play-off against Dundalk over two legs. During the July window Waterford have made quite a few very good signings. Cobh’s leading scorer Conor Meade joined the club while they also brought in Paddy Barrett, Mario Chindea and Wexford’s Danny Furlong who came from Cork City.
Waterford were nine points behind the Town some time ago and like near neighbours Athlone they have clawed us back to come equal in the table. Waterford have experienced players in John Frost, Vinny O’Sullivan and Peter Higgins with former Town keeper Craig Hyland playing well for the blues.
Tony Cousins will be hoping to have some of his recently injured players back at the RSC on Friday night and a win over Waterford is a must if we are to have any chance of catching Athlone.