With a seven point lead at the top of the First Division, and the midway point in the league campaign looming, supporters of Longford Town could be forgiven for approaching this game with a certain amount of confidence.
Longford have a swagger about them that suggests they are not about to concede their advantage any time soon and, fueled by the goals of David O’Sullivan, they have little reason to fear any of their First Division opponents, with the possible exception of Finn Harps.
Harps are the only team to have beaten Longford in the league this season and the Donegal side are responsible for both of the defeats that Tony Cousins’ side have suffered so far. Remarkably, those two games also represent the only occasions on which David O’Sullivan has failed to score for the midlanders.
Inevitably, it was O’Sullivan who scored the only goal of the game when Longford overcame Wexford 1-0 at Ferrycarrig Park earlier in the season, and another three points this time around would extend the gap between the sides to ten points.
Cousins will be without two key men with defender Willo McDonagh and midfielder Keith Gillespie both suspended, while Noel Haverty is also an injury doubt. He will, however, have Corie Treacy available after the defender’s return to full fitness.
Wexford, having negotiated an inconsistent season so far, currently lie third in the First Division table with a negative goal difference being the only gap between themselves and second placed Finn Harps. Beyond that there is a seven point chasm between them and the league leaders - and todays opponents - Longford Town.
Shane Keegan has worked wonders at Ferrycarrig Park, forging an effective unit from an entirely local and largely inexperienced squad. He has also had to deal with the loss of the club’s talismanic goal-scorer Danny Furlong, who signed for Premier Division Cork City during the close season.
The first round of league games saw Wexford lose four of their seven games, but the second round has proven much more successful with the Youths currently on a run of four wins from their last five outings. Three goals in this period from Aidan Keenan have helped dramatically and with nine goals from these five games, Wexford seem to have cured themselves of the shyness in front of goal that hindered their early league form.
In team news, Keegan will be without the steely presence of Thomas Croke who is suspended, while Glenn Hawe will also be forced to sit out the game having accumulated four yellow cards.
Referee: Kevin O’Regan.
With 12 goals from 12 games, Longford’s David O’Sullivan is the league’s leading goal-scorer. He has also claimed another three goals in the FAI Cup. Wexford’s top marksman this year is Aidan Keenan who has scored four times.
Wexford haven’t beaten Longford in the league since 22nd October 2010 when goals from Kevin Rowe and Anthony Wolfe gave them a 2-1 away win.
Although Longford are seven points ahead of Wexford in the league table, Wexford have kept twice as many clean sheets, managing four to Longford’s two.
Longford 8/13; Draw 12/5; Wexford 9/2.
Home win, 2-0.
Doubtful: Noel Haverty.
Suspended: Willo McDonagh, Keith Gillespie.
Suspended: Thomas Croke, Glenn Hawe.