Sport

Blues head West with a ninth win in mind

The trip to Galway poses a challenge that Waterford FC have not seen in some weeks.

Eight straight wins in the first division has landed them within four points of the second-placed Tribesmen. Galway did open the door to Waterford in some of their recent performances though.

John Caulfield's team have dropped points in three of their last four games and have now dropped four points behind Cork at the top.

You don't need to be a mathematician to know that a win this evening for Danny Searle's team puts them within a hair's breadth of Galway and the Londoner says they have a huge chance on the cards this evening. "The game is obviously massive. The cliche is that every game is a massive game and we would never steer from that avenue, but it is an inadvertent six-pointer. Do I think if either team loses it would determine and ruin the season? No. It can go a long way towards that end goal which is promotion."

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Waterford still have a game in hand on both Galway and Cork. That's something that Searle is well aware of. A win changes the dynamic and puts the ball very much in the Blues' court.

One thing Searle will have to contend with this evening is a more shallow pool of players to pick from. Kevin Joshua and Louis Britton both left the club this week with Britton signing for Munster rivals Cork City. Fans were obviously disappointed by that news with the 21-year-old supplying 10 goals in 17 outings. It does however provide the chance for other players to claim the jersey. The manager says he tried to talk Louis out of making the move, but his decision had already been made.

"I sat with him on the bus home from Athlone and I gave him my opinion that a move to another team in this league would be a sideways move. If he doesn't hit the ground running it could be a backward move because he's settled with our squad, he knows our players and they know him. Louis is entitled to make a decision based on his career and if he feels that's the best move for him then obviously it's his career. He was very respectful to me when he spoke to me, but I am disappointed that he's gone there [Cork] I think if he'd stepped up a level you could see the benefits."

Having seen his team in action twice in recent weeks, Searle is still getting to grips with what he has to work with. On day one at the RSC he told WLR Sport that he was excited to work with a young squad, but with that came the naivety of youth. He says that there is a lot of potential but "potential is one thing, but getting that out of a squad of players is another thing. The run of eight games helps and confidence is building, but there is still a lot of nativity in the squad".

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The recent 5-2 win over Athlone made for pleasant reading post-game, but Searle would rather have seen his team be more secure at the back. He comments that the two goals conceded should not be happening and he was ultimately disappointed by that performance regardless of the three points that were taken.

With the final preparations nearly complete for the trip to the West coast Searle finished by saying "When you've won 8 in 8 and you're saying that you'll only get better, hopefully that puts a bit of fear into the league. We want to keep the teams honest. We want to keep Cork and Galway honest. You have to be at your best every week because we are after you, and we want to take that top spot."

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