By Shane Marron (@ShaneMarron19)
The bottom two sides in the First Division meet in Lissywollen on Friday night with a recently improved Wexford FC team still looking for their first maximum haul of the year.
While Wexford FC have scored the fewest goals in the First Division this season (4), Athlone have conceded the most (22) so the away team certainly have the possibility of adding to their meagre total so far.
After last Friday night’s disappointing defeat at home to Cobh Ramblers, manager Damian Locke told the club’s website, “The second half was possibly our best 45 minutes of the season. Cobh couldn’t get out of their own half, and we had numerous chances, but the ball just wouldn’t break for us.”
“Extremely disappointing that they scored from their only chance of the second half because we switched off from a set piece and the boys know that’s not acceptable.”
“I was disappointed with how we started. Cobh’s first 20 minutes was probably the best performance we faced all season. They started brilliantly and could’ve been out of sight but for some brilliant goal keeping from Corey Chambers.”
“Adam got us on the score sheet against the run of play with a great strike and it seemed to settle us down.”
Speaking about Friday’s trip to the Midlands, he said, “We have plenty of positives to take in to the game as it’s clear to see things are starting to click for us. Unfortunately at the moment, that little bit of luck others are getting in front of goal just isn’t happening for us.”
Last weekend’s goalscorer Adam Hanlon told us, “I don’t think we deserved to lose. In the first half we started very slowly and scored against the run of play but it settled us down a bit. They scored a bit of a scrappy goal but to be fair to them it was coming.”
“In the second half we where the better team and they scored like us against the run of play, from a lack of concentration from a set piece which we have to learn from and quick.”
“Morale at the club is actually very good, but of course it hurts not getting the results which some of our performances deserve, but I see it turning for us and it will.”
Asked about his own performances this season Hanlon said, “On a personal level it’s been stop start, picking up a few injuries and with work commitments I’ve missed a few games. But in the last three weeks I’ve got a run of games together and I’ve starting playing up top, which I enjoy. I’m just hoping to keep getting games in and try get back to my best, get some more goals and help us get wins and get up the table.”
With the exceptions of forward Lee Duffy and goalkeeper Graham Doyle, manager Damian Locke once again has a full strength squad to choose from, with under-19 goalkeeper Adam Dempsey stepping up to the bench to provide cover for Corey Chambers. Midfielder Thomas Croke missed out last Friday due to illness but is back in contention for a starting berth on Friday.