Galway United’s last SSE Airtricity League Premier Division fixture before the mid-season break takes place at Maginn Park, Buncrana tomorrow evening against Derry City, kick off 7.45pm.
With the Brandywell being redeveloped, Derry's home fixtures are being played in Buncrana for the duration of the 2017 campaign.
Shane Keegan’s side needs a positive response to two defeats on the trot against Shamrock Rovers and Bohemians.
“I have every faith in this squad and I think whatever situation we find ourselves in in the second half of the season, we will be able to do what is required,” Keegan said following the loss to Bohemians at Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday.
Dinny Corcoran and Lorcan Fitzgerald netted first-half goals for the visitors, but a brave United rally in the second half fell just short. A splendid Ronan Murray free trimmed the gap, but Bohs held out to record a satisfying 2-1 success.
Keegan still believes United can avoid relegation despite the recent setbacks.
“We’re making hard work of it and something out of next Friday’s game would be a big boost heading into that break," he says, “Otherwise you’re heading into the break on the back of three consecutive defeats which is not a nice mind-set to be in at the break.
“That’s why I’m so annoyed at the Bohemians defeat because we’ve put ourselves in a horrible position going to Derry and, if we’re beaten, it will be three defeats on the bounce.”
United need to register a result against the Candystripes, who played out a scoreless draw with Drogheda United. At the same time United suffered against Bohemians, who ruthlessly punished the locals hesitancy early on.
Keegan acknowledges the Bohemians result was a blow. "It is a very similar feeling to those early rounds of the season, it is a feeling I haven't felt in a long time and it isn't nice.
“I think this tops Drogheda as the most disappointing home night of the season so far,” Keegan says.
“Again, maybe I'm seeing it from our point of view, but to be that dominant, I thought we were the better side in the first half and I thought we were absolutely the better side in the second half, but you have to applaud them.
“They were so, so clinical, and they took advantage of the one chance we coughed up to them and then the other you, couldn't even call it a chance, it was a half chance for Lorcan Fitzgerald, which was an absolutely fantastic goal.
“Again it was helped by dire defending on our side, 12 seconds after Kevin Devaney takes a shot, 12 seconds after Shane Supple [Bohemians goalkeeper] kicks the ball out, we have only three players in our half of the field. It is that sort of lapse in concentration I thought we had managed to wean out of our game.”
Murray’s excellence in attack for United is a source of optimism for United, according to Keegan.
“He has been absolutely superb. It was a super strike, he got a fantastic goal and Supple made a good save after Gavan [Holohan] had a brilliant effort from distance."
United were much improved in the second half, but were still beaten. Avoiding a third straight loss in the north west is crucial.
•Galway Soccer Co-Op is running a bus to Buncrana, departing The Dail Bar at 2pm. Contact Stephen Dowling (086 ) 2361040 or Dominick Walsh (087 ) 9163438.