Preview by Kieran Burke (@burko77_)
This Saturday’s home friendly against Premier Division side Limerick FC will offer Longford Town FC supporters one final opportunity to see the new squad in action at home before the big kick-off commences at Eamon Deacy Park in Galway in just fourteen days time.
The return of Limerick FC to The City Calling Stadium will rekindle memories of the ‘Super Blues’ First Division title triumph of two seasons ago as this is the very ground in which Pat Scully’s team at the time, lifted the Airtricity League First Division trophy and in turn secured a return to the top flight for the first time in almost two decades, similar to this seasons newly promoted side Athlone Town who defeated tonight’s hosts at ‘CCS’ just a few weeks ago in pre-season.
Now under the stewardship of English manager Stuart Taylor, the Munster club enjoyed a solid if unspectacular return to the Premier Division last season and with the vast resources available to the club currently occupying Thomond Park, much more will be expected from them in the 2014 SSE Airtricity League campaign.
With the likes of Bohemians, Cork City and Roddy Collins' Derry City all strengthening significantly in the recent transfer window there are no guarantees that the “Lims” will be able to push on from their efforts last season and that is why pre-season matches such as this one will offer Taylor invaluable opportunity to assess his troops and see if perhaps more tweaking to the playing staff is required ahead of their league opener at home to Bray on Friday, March 7th.
As for Tony Cousins' Longford, they are yet to win a game in pre-season but the work outs they have received will be crucial come the launch of the new First Division campaign and last Saturday’s performance away to Cork City is sure to have pleased all concerned with LTFC despite the 3-1 deficit.
The recent spell of bad weather has tampered with Town’s pre-season as it has with most League of Ireland clubs but following this game Limerick are jetting off to sunny Spain for a warm weather training camp. In terms of players to look out for on the visitors' side, striker Craig Curran is one of the strongest in the league and his physicality will offer Longford’s centre-halves real problems while goalkeeper Barry Ryan is one of the most experienced in the league and was in the top bracket of shotstoppers with his performances last season.
Both Stuart Taylor and Tony Cousins will be looking for their sides to start as they mean to go on this season with some good passing and positive football and that should see plenty of attractive play on offer for those in attendance on Saturday night. Kick-off at The City Calling Stadium is 7.30pm with admission price set at just €5, fantastic value right on your doorstep…..Come out to ‘CCS’ and see your local club in action!