Waterford FC manager, Alan Reynolds with the new Waterford FC captain, Paul Keegan at the club’s season launch on Thursday night. Photo: Noel Browne.
League of Ireland Premier Division 2018 Preview
There was standing room only at the Woodlands Hotel on Thursday night as Waterford FC launched their season ahead of the opening game against Derry City in the SSE Airtricity Premier Division this Friday night at the RSC with a 7.45pm kick-off.
With great optimism amongst the Blues fans going into the 2018 campaign, the Blues announced that Paul Keegan will be the new club captain for what’s going to be a special year for the club on their return to the top flight for the first time in ten years.
Keegan, who joined the club last July from Doncaster Rovers, played a pivotal role in helping the club win promotion back to Premier Division where he also chipped in with a vital goal against Longford Town in a 1-0 on his debut that was crucial strike at the time.
The decision of Blues manager Alan Reynolds to appoint the Dublin native as skipper for the 2018 season is one that Keegan sees as a massive honour. “I’m honoured to be captaining this group of players for the Premier League season and I’m grateful to Alan for affording me that opportunity,” admitted Keegan.
“I suppose when I came in during the middle of the season, it was to help get the club over the line and I was delighted to play a part in that. I’m more impressed now than I was then with the setup since we’ve made the transition to full-time.
“For a club like us to be full-time is a big deal but I think it’s without doubt the right decision. We’ve worked hard in pre-season and anything that we’ve asked for we’ve gotten. The club have delivered, and I haven’t seen a professional approach like this in my time in League of Ireland.
“I don’t think that the supporters have seen the true potential of the squad in pre-season and we’re ready to hit the ground running against Derry on Friday. The fans played a massive part in the success of this club last season and I know that they’ll be right behind us again this season.
“We’ve worked very hard and the lads are raring to go. It’s going to be a big night for us against Derry and hopefully we can get a good result. The atmosphere that has been created the RSC is second to none and we’ll be looking forward to that support on Friday night.
“I think that everyone has worked hard and have put their head down. I think that it’s important to us all that we get a good start and that’s going to be vital to our season. The Premier League is a new journey for a lot of our supporters as well as the players but it’s a journey that we’re looking forward to.”
“When you look at the pre-season games, we’ve looked good in a couple of those games and our sharpness is getting there. We haven’t played those games in ideal match conditions as well so I don’t think that the fans have seen our true potential.
“It would be great to get a positive result against Derry but we’ll be going into every game believing that we can win it. We’ll be looking to play good football and keep things tight at the back as well. We will be hoping to get the crowd behind us from the outset.
“I think that we have a mixture of youth and experience which is important in the Premier League. I think that it will be a good game to watch against Derry and one that we’re looking forward too. It’s important that we try make the RSC a bit of fortress so hopefully that will start with a win on the opening night.”