Matty Smith 9' -
Waterford will look to bounce back from Monday night’s 6-1 defeat away to Shamrock Rovers when they welcome Sligo Rovers to the RSC on Saturday evening (kick-off 5pm).
The Blues can move into third place, for 24 hours at least, if they avoid defeat on home turf in Fran Rockett’s first game as permanent manager.
Rockett was confirmed in the post during the week after taking charge of the Rovers game as caretaker following John Sheridan’s departure.
It was a tough outing for the Blues, who saw goals from Aaron Greene, Roberto Lopes, Lee Grace, Jack Byrne, Graham Burke and Dean Williams fly past Brian Murphy.
Michael O’Connor did score a late consolation as he faced his former club for the final time before completing a move to Scottish side Ross County.
“This is a huge game for both sides. I don’t think either of us would be satisfied with a draw,” Rockett told the club’s website.
“The lads have bounced back very quickly after the defeat to Rovers on Monday but it’s been a long time since then with how things are moving so we’re really up for this.”
Sam Bone continues to miss out with a foot injury while Daryl Murphy is a doubt as he awaits his Waterford bow.
Sligo Rovers travel to south-east Munster knowing that a win of any description will see them move into third – at least until Dundalk face Shamrock Rovers tomorrow.
Liam Buckley’s side will hope to complete a double over Waterford following a dramatic comeback win at the Showgrounds last month.
The Bit o’ Red have won five of their eight league games since the resumption but came unstuck last week at home to Bohemians.
Andre Wright struck ten minutes from time to seal all three points for the Gypsies and consolidate their hold on second place.
“With six games to go, it’s all to play for in our season and we’re positive about the position we find ourselves in,” Buckley told the club’s media team.
“This game is one that can have a big say in the outcome of the season, and I’m sure Waterford feel the same.
“It was a tight game last week, there wasn’t a lot in it and Bohs scored late on. There’s more in us without doubt. It’s gone now and we have to look at the overall picture.
“We have a chance of a really good finish in the league and our target is to pick up as many points as we can.
“There’s going to be lots of twists and turns to come over the next five weeks.”
Danny Kane (ankle), Darren Collins (ankle), Sigitas Olberkis (hamstring) and Johnny Dunleavy (knee) miss out out but Niall Morahan returns from a one-game ban.
Referee: Sean Grant
The sides have met once so far this season, in a game that was twice postponed, in mid-August.
Late goals from Rónán Coughlan and Alex Cooper saw the Bit o’ Red to victory after Michael O’Connor had put the Blues in front early on.
Waterford 31/20; Draw 21/10; Sligo Rovers 13/8.
Waterford 0 – 2 Sligo Rovers
Injured: Sam Bone.
Doubtful: Daryl Murphy.
Injured: Danny Kane (ankle), Darren Collins (ankle), Sigitas Olberkis (hamstring), Johnny Dunleavy (knee).