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SSE Airtricity First Division
Athlone Town -v- Waterford FC
Friday, 18th February, 2022
Kick-Off: 7:45pm
Referee: Kevin O’Sullivan

Waterford FC kick-off their 2022 SSE Airtricity First Division campaign on Friday night when the Blues travel to take on Athlone Town.

Having been relegated last season through the play-offs, new manager Ian Morris will be hoping to build on a positive pre-season and guide the Blues back to the Premier Division.

The Blues come into Friday’s game on the back of a 1-1 pre-season draw last weekend against Premier Division Derry City, with Louis Britton on the scoresheet.

The sides met last season in an incredible FAI Cup tie that ended 4-4 after extra-time, before penalties saw a 10-man Blues side progress to the next round.

The Blues last visit to the Athlone Town Stadium in league action came back in 2017, when an in-form Blues put five past the home side to take all three points in a season that would see the Blues crowned First Division champions.

Of the side’s last 26 encounters in all competitions, the Blues have won 15 times, drawing on seven occasions.

Manager View: Speaking ahead of Friday’s match against Athlone Town, manager Ian Morris said:

“Pre-season is finished now thankfully and we’re all ready to get going against Athlone. All the lads have gelled really well, it’s a top-class environment here so we’re hoping that it all translates to results on the pitch.

“Everyone is here for competitive games. It’s what everyone wants to be involved in. We won’t have any excuses on Friday night. We’re working hard, we’ve trained on astro to get used to the surface so it’s just going to be full-tilt ahead for us on Friday night against Athlone.

“It’s going to be a long year. I want to win every single game, but we need that bouncebackability if we do suffer a setback, so we can bounce back and believe in what we are doing.”

Team News: Kilian Cantwell misses out due to a facial injury sustained in pre-season. Niall O’Keeffe is suspended.

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