- Thursday June 24th, 2021 @ 10:30
Preview: Saints Vs Waterford (25/06/21)
St Patrick's Athletic will head South on Friday night to take on Waterford.
Kick-off at the RSC will be 7.45pm and the game will be live on LOITV.
It is a third game in a week for both teams as the busy period after the mid-season break continues.
The Saints will be eager to continue their recent winning run, they've won three from three since the return of the season, scoring nine goals in the process.
The return of fans certainly helped last weekend as St Pat's had back to back wins at Richmond Park on Friday (2-0 vs Sligo Rovers) and Monday (4-1 vs Finn Harps)
Monday's victory over Harps featured two more Ronan Coughlan goals, a Robbie Benson strike and a sensational lob from Alfie Lewis after a mouth-watering Chris Forrester pass, which rounded off an excellent performance.
Opposition Watch and Recent Meetings
Similar to The Saints, the mid-season break seems to have come at just the right time for Waterford, they've enjoyed two wins out of three since the restart.
They were in action on Monday night when a second-half strike from Eric Molloy secured all three points for his side against Longford Town.
Former Saints Academy man John Martin had put The Blues in front before Aaron McNally's equaliser, Molloy won it three minutes after half-time.
Marc Bircham's team beat Dundalk 3-1 at Oriel Park last week, they come into this game in 9th place, four points above bottom side Longford and now seven points off 8th place.
The teams met at Richmond Park back in April and Darragh Burns' second minute strike was enough to seal a 1-0 home win.
View From The Dugout
Manager Alan Mathews was full of praise for his side after their 4-1 win against Finn Harps:
"We are delighted with the result. I suppose we were a little bit scruffy in the first-half and we were happy to go in with the one goal lead. Second-half, some of our passing, moving and our play, both with and without the ball, especially in the last half hour or so, was really really good so we are delighted with the result and the performance and it's great to score the four goals."
Darragh Burns has returned from injury in recent weeks and added another brilliant assist to his name on Monday evening against Finn Harps, as he looks to continue his impressive form this season.
Mathews says he is one of a number of talented young players who've been getting their chance:
"Darragh makes an impact whenever he comes in and he is banging the door down now for a starting place which is great. He's so well balanced, he can go inside or outside, on his left or on his right and he is a real threat.
You have young lads like Ben McCormack and himself coming in and it's going to give good heart and hope to all of the other lads coming through the Academy that they can see lads that are in the first team, they're getting key minutes and they're progressing so that's something that's really important for the club.
We want to ensure that the progress and that pathway is maintained when you see the lads coming in and making a real contribution, it's going to give everyone a lift."
Head Coach Stephen O'Donnell has turned his focus straight to Friday's trip to the RSC:
"I'm really happy with the way we've come back since the break, the players have been working really hard. I'm delighted with their attitude and they way they've trained and that has carried over for the most part into the games. We've got three wins from three since the break and now we go into a tough game against Waterford.
In recent times, they've beaten Dundalk and Oriel Park and had a good win away to Longford on Monday. The are rejuvenated and reenergised and they are a lot fitter under Marc Bircham than they were previously.
They are a young, talented squad and are playing with a lot of enthusiasm and their confidence is going to be very high after their recent wins. We are going to have to be at our best to get anything out and the game and try to finish off a busy week on a positive note."
Ronan Coughlan made it four goals in three games on Monday evening after his brace against Finn Harps and penalty against Sligo, those goals took his tally for the season to seven.
He's been telling us about the return of fans, and how much he enjoyed scoring in front of the Richmond faithful in two successive games:
"It's great to get the fans back in. I probably should have got another one tonight (against Finn Harps) so I'm a bit gutted, but I am happy with four in the last few games and especially with the fans to see it so it's all good.
We're almost at the halfway point of the season now and have been doing well. We didn't have a great run of results before the break, but we came back and worked hard and it's paying off now. We have gotten three on the bounce and we've one more against Waterford and that's halfway so we have to go into that and just keep picking out results if we can, and then at the end of the season, hopefully we will be up there."
Team-news: Shane Griffin (shoulder) is the only absentee
Where Can You Watch The Game: The game will be live on LOITV, with kick off at 7.45pm on Friday evening.
Updates: You can catch updates across all of our social media channels, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Photo credit: Inpho Sports