A vital SSE Airtricity League premier division clash is scheduled for Eamonn Deacy Park tomorrow evening [Friday] when Galway United host St Patrick’s Athletic (7.45pm ).
The encounter between the bottom two teams carries huge significance for United, who are keen to deliver a first league win of the campaign.
United trail Pat’s by four points and manager Shane Keegan appreciates the support of Galway’s loyal followers, who crave a victory.
“The most encouraging thing in this tough time has been the attitude of the players, they are constantly feeding back that they think we are doing the right things,” Keegan says.
“There is no doubt from what we are seeing, they are giving their all. The one other thing is that at other clubs the atmosphere around the club and players could have developed into something of a toxic atmosphere. That hasn't happened, and it does have a huge bearing. The lads have enough to be concentrating on without having 1,000 fans on their back. The fact that they see they are giving their all, getting applauded off the field, it has been a big help.”
A controversial Gary McCabe goal ensured Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds last Friday, but Keegan wants his young team to respond.
“We were a little bit unfortunate at the Carlisle Grounds, but we want to get away from the same tune every week,” Keegan says. “Of course being positive is important, but I don't want people to get the wrong message. We don't feel that everything is against us, it wasn't a great decision in the lead up to the goal, but we didn't create enough on the night.
“We did rely on Conor Winn making a couple of decent saves. While there were unfortunate elements, the games we were really unfortunate in were ones where we clearly created more goal-scoring opportunities than the opposition, such as the Drogheda United game, such as the Finn Harps game. That wasn't the case against Bray, we didn't create enough goalscoring chances. No matter if we did have good possesion of the ball, they created more chances than we did.”
Keegan remains optimistic United can put a decent run together soon. “Some might point to my enthusiasm and positivity as a flaw, but at times like this you need it,” he admits. “I'm a positive guy at the best of times, but while I wouldn't doubt myself or the lads, you probably question everything you are doing. You don't ask those questions when you are winning games.”
Having shown a willingness to alter the playing formation and style, Keegan expects a demanding test when Liam Buckley’s Saints visit the west.
“You have to change set-up when you are trying to come up with a formula that will work. A winning formula can't be just based on a scoreline, it is about how we played. In preparation for the Pat's game on Monday I was looking back on some of their previous games, I was watching the Finn Harps one for example to see how Finn Harps got the victory over them.
“That was a game in which Pat's had 12 attempts from inside the 18 yard box, Finn Harps had four. Harps won the game 2-1, that is exactly the type of thing that we would love.”
It will be a busy weekend for United, who host Derry City at Eamonn Deacy Park in the EA Sports Cup on Monday.
•Galway Soccer Co-Op is holding a general knowledge table quiz on Thursday, April 20, at The Dail Bar, Middle Street, Galway (8.30pm ). The entry fee is €40 per table of four, prizes include Republic of Ireland match tickets.