Fermanagh midfielder Ryan Jones is expecting a big tussle in Mullingar on Sunday as Westmeath and Fermanagh lock horns in this top of the table Division Three clash.
Fermanagh go into the game with four wins out of four but Westmeath are right in the promotion mix as well with six points on the board from their four matches to date, their only defeat coming at the hands of Armagh.
“They have only lost one game so far which was to Armagh so they are still definitely in the hunt for promotion and they will be be looking at Sunday’s game as home game and one that they will be targeting to win.
“They have a lot of very good footballers and they have been very competitive in Leinster this last number of years. I think that they will take the game to us and I think it will be a close game,” said Jones.
The race for promotion to Division Two looks as if it will go down to the wire with two points separating the top four sides and Fermanagh having the other three teams at the top to play in a difficult run in. 
And Jones accepts that they can afford very few slip ups if they are to finish in the top two.
“We are into the last three games and every team is now more or less trying to knock the other teams out of the race for promotion. Westmeath will be hoping to put a dent in our hopes and at the same time boosting their own hopes and we’ll be looking to do the same.
“We can afford very few slip ups in the last three games but it’s about taking it one game at a time and we will not be looking any further ahead than Westmeath this Sunday,” he stated.
Fermanagh have made a good start to life under new manager Rory Gallagher with seven wins out of their eight competitive games in the McKenna Cup and league and while Jones acknowledges that winning helps with confidence he stresses that the toughest games lie ahead.
“We’ve won seven games out of eight this year and winning breeds confidence in the team.
“You could arguably say though that our three toughest games are to come against Westmeath, Armagh and Longford. Westmeath beat Sligo pretty convincingly in their last game, I think they racked up 20 points so we are under no illusion that they are going to be a step up from what we have played so far. 
“We will have to take it a step higher to try and keep that winning streak going,” he said.
In their previous outing aganst Derry, Fermanagh produced a superb first half performance as they saw off Derry but they allowed the Oak Leaf back into the game in the second half and Jones feels that they now need to string together a consistent 70 minutes of football.
“If we play the way we played in the first half against Derry we will cause a lot of teams trouble but the other side of that is if we play the way we played for the majority of the second half then not too many teams will fear us. 
“It is about trying to get a consistent performance for the full 70 minutes. I don’t know why we haven’t got that in any of our games to date because our fitness levels our decent but whatever it is, whether it is a lapse of concentration or where it is inviting teams on to us, it is something that we will definitely need to improve on.”
And the Derrygonnelly club man admits that while Fermanagh were pleased with the two points from the Derry game, they were not satisfied with their overall performance on the night.
“We would definitely have taken the two points if it was offered to us beforehand regardless of the performance and there is no doubt about it for the first 35 or 40 minutes we played really, really good football.
“It was disappointing though to have come away from the game having let Derry back into it after we were in such a commanding position and we will have to sit down and analyse the video from the game to see what happened.
“Yes, we got the two points and we are delighted with that but the overall performance wasn’t complete.”