Waterford may be in a pleasing third place, though they could be better off had their recent form not been quite so bad. The hosts have won just one of their last seven matches, four of which they’ve lost. With them chasing a place in the Europa League, and with both St Patricks and Derry City looking to close in on third place, Alan Reynolds’ men need to regain their form and thus open the gap.
Fortunately for the hosts, St Patricks also come into this match in poor condition. Liam Buckley’s visitors arrive here having lost each of their last three matches. During that time, they’ve been far too open defensively, a weakness that the home side will undoubtedly be hoping to take advantage on Friday evening.
Home form has been very much at the forefront of Waterford’s success this season. In fact, it is their consistency at home which has allowed them to sustain such a lofty position. In truth, Friday’s hosts haven’t been great on the road, but with such strong home form, they can afford to drop points on their travels.
In terms of points accumulated, only the current top two have outperformed Waterford, who’ve won eight, drawn one and lost just one, at home this season. With 22 goals to their name, they’ve been consistent scorers rather than overly prolific scorers, though they’ve defended well having conceded just 11 goals. Having beaten Derry by four goals to nil in their most recent home match, where they shone at both ends of the pitch, the hosts ought to be confident of doing the business on Friday night.
Not only do the hosts boast strong home form, but the visitors have really struggled to make any sort of headway away from home his season. From both and offensive and defensive point of view, the performances of St Patricks on the road have left plenty to be desired. Buckley’s side have scored a measly six goals in 11 away matches during the current campaign. Such a total if simply not good enough. Only Shamrock and bottom-of-the-league Bray have scored less on their travels.
It is a lack of forward potency on the road that can act as the catalyst for home success in this fixture, though the fact that St Patricks also find it tough to keep teams out away from home can play a part too. Even against lowly Bray last time out, the visitors couldn’t keep things tight, conceding three goals for the second away match on the bounce. Such form does not bode well for the travelling side ahead of this encounter.
All things considered, a difference in both offensive and defensive qualities in their respective home and away games means that there is only one team to side with. What’s more, taking everything into consideration, even at a short price, the hosts may just be a tad too big in the winning. This really is a gilt-edged opportunity for Alan Reynolds’ men to cement their European spot.
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The recent head-to-head record is somewhat mixed. Waterford have won two of the last five renewals, while St Patricks have also won two of the last five renewals.
The hosts will be without Stanley Aborah on Friday night. The midfielder is suspended having recently been shown a red card. Aside from that, Waterford should be a full strength.
Striker Thomas Byrne is banned for the visitors after he picked up a red card last time out. St Patricks should otherwise have a full side out at RSC