Having registered seven points in their last four SSE Airtricity League Premier Division games Athlone Town will be hoping to make an impact when hosting Derry City at Lissywollen on Sunday afternoon.
Derry City’s Europa League excursions mean they face Athlone at an awkward juncture so Keith Long’s side will be keen to exploit the Candystripes’ hectic schedule. Bohemians had to be rugged and resourceful at Dalymount Park last Friday when securing a 2-2 draw with Athlone, who had started impressively.
Two James O’Brien goals had given improving Athlone a commanding advantage, but the Gypsies, enjoying a productive run of results themselves, replied after the restart. Substitute Kevin Devaney and Dinny Corcoran netted for Bohemians, who remain nine points ahead of basement boys Athlone.
What will provide Long and his Athlone squad with hope, though, is the fact that only a half dozen points separate the Midlanders from second from bottom UCD. With important clashes against Derry, Limerick, Dundalk, and St Patrick’s Athletic looming, Athlone are completely aware that a defining month awaits.
Derry’s League campaign has been packed with draws as Peter Hutton’s side have been involved in nine stalemates out of 17 matches. Surprisingly Derry have only summoned three victories, but they remain a capable outfit when the mood strikes so Long will have Athlone briefed about the visitors’ potential.
Preserving the top flight status Athlone fought so hard to win is what the Midlanders need to do during the next three months. It will be a tough task, but Athlone aren’t without hope especially with confidence returning to the team. Every point is hard earned so Athlone would be encouraged if anything can be added to their account on Sunday.