Avoiding relegation remains Galway United’s objective so Friday evening’s SSE Airtricity League Premier Division clash against Drogheda United carries huge significance for Shane Keegan’s team.
United were not in action last weekend, but their most recent outing was an encouraging 3-1 win over Limerick FC so Keegan is relishing the Drogheda encounter.
“It was great to get the win last time out, it was a little bit annoying not to have a game straightaway after it with confidence high, but at the same time it gave us a chance to have a little breather before going into the final round of games,” Keegan says.
Four points have been registered by United in their last two fixtures – a draw with St Patrick’s Athletic was followed by a victory over Limerick.
“We had said before the Pat's game that we set a target of eight to 10 points from the five games so we have four from a possible six points which is not a bad start,” Keegan admits.
“In fairness we probably have the two biggest games in that five to come, against Drogheda and Harps. It is good to put ourselves in a decent position after the Limerick win.”
Keegan acknowledges the importance of the clash with Drogheda. “When it gets to the final stretch of the season the bottom teams do start to pull off more results than they had done earlier,” Keegan states.
“It gets to the stage where they nearly all become must wins. In terms of this one, there is no point in saying otherwise, it is a huge, huge game.
“We have to embrace that pressure, take it on our shoulders by dealing with it in the right way. The plus for us, is it is probably a must win for them too, so they will have to deal with the pressure equally.”
The United manager was an interested spectator at the Showgrounds on Saturday when Sligo Rovers drew with Drogheda. “I was in Sligo on Saturday night, again it was a similar situation, Drogheda seemed happy in the end to take a point, but against us I do not know how useful they will feel a point is,” Keegan remarks.
“So I think they will see it as a must win. Watching it on Saturday night both teams seemed anxious and were not able to stick to their natural style of play.
“It is very important that we do not fall into that trap as well. Yes, we accept it is a six pointer, but that doesn't mean you go about your business any differently than you would in any other game.”
Ronan Murray, Padraic Cunningham, and substitute Eoin McCormack all bagged goals during the Limerick triumph. Keegan was delighted with United’s clinical finishing.
“There have been far too many games this year where we have been at least as good as the opposition, if not better and not managed to take anything from the game,” Keegan says.
“I do not think it was our finest performance of the season against Limerick, but I thought we were certainly ruthless.
“We probably only had three decent attacks in the game, but we put the ball in the net three times. That was brilliant, absolutely brilliant because we have shown a good defensive side to us all year.
“It is about making sure we are creative to get chances and then to be clinical when they come. Drogheda will be well setup, they won't be coughing up chances too easily. You want to be on top of every chance that comes your way, and to be super, super clinical. We were against Limerick.
“How different it was against Limerick not to have to be chasing a game for a change. In the last game getting that goal against Limerick was key. We could have been two nil down before we scored, but after we scored, while we allowed them to have the ball they did not have many chances.
“I do think we are starting to develop a bit of cuteness and cleverness. If we get ourselves ahead in a game I feel we can manage that situation.”