Saturday 25 November 2017

Wee trip is a must-win tie

Promotion likely for victors

Brendan Furlong

Centre-back Eoghan Nolan is a doubt for Sunday owing to sickness
Centre-back Eoghan Nolan is a doubt for Sunday owing to sickness

Wexford Senior footballers face into the biggest challenge of their Allianz League campaign when they travel to Drogheda on Sunday to take on fellow promotion challengers Louth (2 p.m.).

Having got off to a mixed start with a victory over Leitrim followed by defeat to Antrim, Wexford have managed to put three victories back-to-back against London, Waterford and Wicklow, keeping them very much in the promotion race, with the Wee county having still to play the leaders, Antrim.

The stakes are really high in this game but David Power has been boosted by the return of ace attacker Ciarán Lyng.

The experienced St. Martin's clubman came on as a second-half substitute in their victory over Wicklow, in what his first competitive outing of the year, while P.J. Banville also saw some game time having missed out on the Waterford victory with a hamstring problem.

This will be a serious challenge for the Wexford side. While they have an impressive record on Louth soil, the home side are also concentrating on a promotion push, which at first glance should ensure a serious challenge for the two points on offer, as the result could very well define both sides' league campaign.

That's why it's important for Wexford to win, as two points could then see them seal promotion the following Sunday against Carlow in Innovate Wexford Park. But it's going to take an exceptionally good performance for Wexford to head off the Louth challenge on home soil.

For Wexford it's a matter of showing the type of consistency that enables them to win games of this nature.

The returning Lyng and Banville should prove an added bonus while coming off three successive victories should also prove a confidence boost for the side.

Since the Antrim defeat in their second round game, Wexford haven't looked back. It was a high-scoring affair against both London and Wicklow, but on this occasion one can expect the scores to be more hard-earned.

While the stakes are high for both sides, Wexford manager David Power, feels they will be ready for the challenge.

'Looking at it, Louth will be ready for us, we will be ready for them.

'Whoever wins will be promoted, it's as simple as that. Louth under Colin Kelly play an attractive style of football, a style that will be suited to us, as we also like to play open football.

'If we keep improving, keep playing like in recent games, I'm confident we can get a result. Last year we were two points up against them at half-time.

'On that occasion we did not have Daithí Waters and Ciarán Lyng. Both of those players are back so it should strengthen us,' he added.

Wexford will still be missing injured pair, Kevin O'Grady (pelvic problem) and Michael Furlong, still recovering from his cruciate injury, while centre-back Eoghan Nolan ('flu) is doubtful.

'We will not know about Eoghan until later in the week,' said Power. 'Shane Roche is back training and should be in the match day squad.

'Our squad is considerably strengthened with the returning players. This makes for competition for places which is good overall,' he added.

Manager Power will not announce his side until after Friday evening's training session.

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