Following their 1-0 home defeat to Finn Harps at the RSC, Waterford will be hoping to bounce back when they take on UCD at the Belfield Bowl, who have had mixed fortunes of late.
A 7-0 thumping by Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght last weekend, came on the back of a 1-0 home win over Bohemians, which ultimately morphed itself into a 3-0 victory. Danny Mandroiu started for Keith Long’s team in a game for which he should have been serving a suspension.
However, the gloss of a much needed 3 points was eschewed when Rovers went to town in a drubbing that saw UCD securely anchored to the bottom of the table.
Collie O’Neill will have new signings Liam Kerrigan and Sam Byrne in place, but Evan Osam will be absent as he continues his recovery from a torn Achilles. Sean McDonald and Josh Collins are also unavailable due to injury.
O’Neill is cognizant of the significance of bouncing back from the defeat in Tallaght.
“Obviously the Rovers game was disappointing, and the performance was unacceptable.
“However, in the previous few games before that I thought we were brilliant, so Friday is an important one for us as we look to bounce back and get the performance back into our game and to get back to winning ways.”
Sam Bone and Kevin Lynch are still not available for Alan Reynolds side, but is boosted by the returning Zack Elbouzed. Captain Rory Feely also returns from suspension.
Reynolds acknowledged the disappointment of the home defeat to Finn Harps and spoke of the support the fans gave, despite inevitable frustrations, and that it is not lost on the players.
“The supporters were great last week and we know they’re frustrated. The players are hurting.
“They know what it means to everybody and they’re working hard to get us moving in the right direction, starting this Friday. “
The action gets underway in Belfield at 7:45.