Galway United host Bohemians in the second round of the FAI Cup at Eamonn Deacy Park tomorrow evening (7.45pm ).
It has been a hugely disappointing campaign for United, who cannot achieve promotion following Friday's comprehensive SSE Aitricity League first division 1-4 loss against Longford Town at the Dyke Road venue.
That was the latest setback for United, who have suffered eight defeats in 24 matches in the league.
Longford were vastly superior against a United outfit that struggled to negate the influence of Dylan McGlade and Jamie Doyle, who each bagged two goals.
So many of the statistics in 2018 are grim for United, who have only recorded one win against the top five teams.
Bohemians enjoyed a productive outing beating arch rivals Shamrock Rovers at Tallaght Stadium last Friday so Keith Long's charges will be eager to embark on a lengthy run in the cup now.
United boss Alan Murphy was perturbed by the manner in which Longford overcame the Tribesmen, ending any slim hopes of a push for a play-off spot.
“I think the honeymoon period is over. I think that’s the best way of putting it," Murphy remarked. “Passion, endeavour, hard work, ability – there was none, unfortunately. So, that’s the league done in terms of any progression. So, it’s now the cup.
"Guys need to look at themselves in the mirror now, not just performance-wise, but they genuinely need to look in the mirror in terms of whether they want to be a League of Ireland player or not.
"The sacrifices you make with your home, your life, family, your fitness, the way you mind yourself – all these things need to be looked at.
“We have a squad at the moment that was cruising for a long time at a level of mediocrity, and they have jumped into that pool of averageness again."
Despite the Longford setback, Murphy will demand a response from his United squad.
"In terms of winning something or silverware, yes the cup is huge now in order to keep this club going in terms of finance, confidence, publicity around the place," Murphy says. "Do I still think a win next week against Bohs is achievable? Absolutely, I do, because I still have faith in mine and Mark Herrick's ability to be able to organise a team for a one-off game at this present moment."
Murphy also expects to give youngsters an opportunity in United's last three league fixtures following the Bohemians' cup clash.
"Some players who have not had a chance will be given a chance now, and rightly so. That will be refreshing for the club to be in a situation to be able to do that - to give guys a chance they may not have got if we were still in the hunt for a play-off position.
"That’s a positive in my book. I didn’t want it to be like that, but everyone has to start somewhere. In my own career, I started for five or 10 minutes down in Sligo Rovers, and my first touch I kicked the ball straight out of play, so they are the things that have to happen in order to progress."