Match Preview: WNL V Athlone Town

The second half of the season resumes properly on Saturday for Sligo Rovers following an unexpected FAI Cup postponement last weekend after FAI Intermediate Cup semi-finalists Douglas Hall conceded a walkover.

That came seven days after Sligo Rovers returned to action with a narrow (1-2) defeat at Dalymount Park against Bohemian FC.

Rovers will be looking to improve on their last meeting with Athlone, which ended up in a 5-0 defeat at Lissywoolen, a scoreline which, on reflection, might have been a tad harsh.

The Bit O’Red has improved a certain amount since then as demonstrated with a 1-0 win against Wexford, but consistency is something that manager Steve Feeney is still trying to achieve.

Athlone Town had a game last weekend, a 7-0 FAI Cup victory against FAI Intermediate Cup semi-finalists Whitehall Rangers.

The previous weekend, when the WNL action resumed, Athlone managed a hard-earned 1-0 victory against Cork City with a second-half Corbet strike proving the difference.

This will be Athlone’s first visit to the Showgrounds for a WNL game and they certainly won’t underestimate the challenge that the hosts will provide.

After the first game in Athlone, Sligo Rovers manager Steve Feeney commented:

“Athlone have a bit of physicality about them and it will take us a bit longer to get to that level, but we are learning all the time, our players are working hard and over the course of the season that aspect of our game will improve, no question about it.

“We created two or three good chances and on another day one or two would have gone in, but not on this occasion. The real plus for me was the way we kept trying to play football.”

Some 15 games into the season it’s still a learning curve for the Sligo Rovers players.

Just how much they have progressed since that game against Athlone will be evident after another 90 minutes on the learning curve on Saturday.

For Athlone Town, they will be desperately looking for another three points to stay in touch and possibly move into second place if the results elsewhere are favourable.