With the mid-season break now over, Waterford FC return to action this Friday night at the RSC against fourth placed Cabinteely with a 7.45pm kick off.
The Blues currently sit top of the league table, two points clear of Munster rivals Cobh Ramblers, but know they will have to be at their best to maintain their impressive 14 match unbeaten run the SSE Airtricity League First Division against a much improved Cabinteely outfit.
Unbeaten since losing to Athlone Town on the opening night of the season, the Blues squad have suffered a series of injuries which has tested the squad depth throughout the campaign to-date but prior to the break, there were a number of impressive performances from underage players stepping up to the senior squad for the first time, most notably John Martin who netted his first senior hat-trick in Lissywollen last time out.
Waterford’s home record this year in the league has yielded an impressive 19 points from a possible 21, in a run that started with that run starting with a 3-0 win over Cabinteely at the beginning of March, before a strong crowd of 1,317. The Blues’ fans have definitely been the 12th man at home all season and having drawn away to Cabinteely at Stradbrook in the side’s last meeting, the Blues’ players will be hoping the home factor along with a much needed rest period will see another win recorded.
Blues’ defender Patrick McClean is one of a number of players who was playing through the pain barrier prior to the mid-season break with an ongoing shoulder problem but the Derry native feels that he has benefited from the rest period and he is raring to go again. McClean reflected this week;
“I’m feeling good after a few days off and raring to go again now.
“We finished off before the break with a great win up at Athlone and I can’t wait to get back into the action now against Cabinteely and show people that we can keep this run going.
“In the lead up to the Athlone game we had a great week of training and I think on the day we showed on the pitch what we are looking to do and how we want to play. Everything clicked and went well so hopefully we can do that again this week.
“Cabinteely were a hard team to break down in Stradbrook and I think that the pitch there was a massive factor in the nil all draw. We showed in the second game of the season at the RSC that we can take the game to Cabinteely on a better surface and we’ll be looking to do that again on Friday.”
Team News: Patrick McClean and Mark O’Sullivan have fully recovered from their injuries sustained before the mid-season break and have trained fully this week however captain David Mulcahy will face a late fitness test ahead of the game. Winger Dean O’Halloran returned to training this week but following assessment has been ruled out again despite making good progress on his leg injury. Long term injured pair Ian McLoughlin and Sander Puri remain out. Shane O’Connor is serving a one game ban after picking up his 5th yellow card of the season.
Referee: Eoghan O’Shea