League Preview: Waterford -v- St. Patrick's Athletic

Thu, Sep 03 2020

Scott Allardice of Waterford FC tackles Billy King of St Pat's in February's game between the sides at Richmond Park Credit: Paul Dolan (ETPhotos)

WATERFORD

It is a dozen days since the Blues last match and they have been stewing over a 3-2 defeat to Finn Harps from last time out. St. Patrick’s Athletic are Friday’s visitors for this 7.45pm kick off.

Waterford won the first game back after the COVID-19 enforced break, winning away to Shelbourne but haven’t earned a victory since then – losing to Dundalk in the FAI Cup with two draws along with one other league defeat – a 2-1 away loss in Sligo.

John Sheridan is boosted by the signing of Daryl Murphy who returns to the Blues for a second spell following time playing in the UK with Sunderland, Ipswich Town, Celtic, Newcastle United and Bolton Wanderers and earning 32 caps for the Republic of Ireland. 

“He’s a massive, massive signing,” said Sheridan. “Every club in the country would be delighted to have someone of Dary’s calibre at their club. His attitude and professionalism speaks for itself.

“I’m hoping he can impart some of his knowledge of the game on this dressing room and give the lads a much-needed boost. As I’ve said, we’ve a good bunch here capable of competing at the top end. Some results and decisions haven’t gone our way but we’re working on changing that now.”

As we move into the second half of this shortened season, Friday’s game is the only Premier Division match and Waterford – who are currently eighth in the table - could end the evening levels on points with third placed Dundalk if they win.

SAINT PATRICK’S ATHLETIC

The Saints head south on Friday night to take on Waterford having lost in the league 2-0 away to Bohs last time out. Like United, St. Pat’s sat out competitive action last week having been eliminated from the FAI Cup in the first round (losing 1-0 away to Finn Harps).

“We have had two weeks since our last game, which was a very disappointing result against Bohs,” said Saints boss Stephen O’Donnell speaking to his club’s media team. O’Donnell is suspended from this game so will watch the game from the stands in the RSC.

“We need to have a mentality where we churn out performances week on week.  It’s no good getting to a good level one week, and then drop the following week.”

“The way the league is now we are at the half stage. We start the second series away to Waterford who are in and around us. There’s a lot of teams taking points off each other, but we just need to focus on ourselves and get that consistency and level of performance over 90 minutes. 

“It’s our focus and our aim to reel off back to back wins because over such a short league campaign, if you do that you put yourself in a really healthy position, starting from the Waterford game. The players have trained well over this past two weeks and are excited for the game.”

O'Donnell has a ful squad to choose from with defender Shane Griffin available again returning from a one match suspension.

Referee: Paul McLaughlin

MATCH STATS
Saints captain Ian Bermingham can break the all time league appearances record for the St. Patrick’s Athletic. Bermingham and Paul Osam both have played 308 games for the Super Saints.

When the sides met back in February on the opening night of the league campaign, Waterford won 1-0 in Inchicore thanks to Kevin O’Connor’s 49th minute goal.

Waterford won three of the four league games played between the sides last season wining 2-0 at home and 2-0 and 3-0 away in Richmond Park. Pat’s did win 2-1 at the RSC in July last year.

BETTING
Waterford 13/5; Draw 21/10; St. Patrick’s Athletic Evens.

PREDICTION
1-0 away win

Waterford 

Injured: n/a

Suspended: None.

St. Patrick’s Athletic

Injured: None.

Doubtful: None.

Suspended: None.