Galway United face a demanding away SSE Airtricity League first division encounter against Drogheda United tomorrow evening (7.45pm ).
Drogheda have made a blistering opening to this season's campaign, scoring a remarkable 14 goals in their opening two fixtures, so United manager Shane Keegan is fully aware of the threat the home team carries at United Park.
“When you look at the way they have started, playing away to Drogheda looks like the toughest fixture on any fixture list,” Keegan says.
“They have got off to a fantastic start with seven different goalscorers over the course of the two games. They are getting them from all angles and will be full of confidence. Going up there is as tough a game as you are going to get this season at any stage.”
Keegan was satisfied with United's victories at Eamonn Deacy Park over the Bank Holiday weekend. On Friday Danny Furlong inspired United to a 3-1 success against Cabinteely, while on Monday the locals shaded an EA Sports Cup battle against Donegal’s Cockhill Celtic 1-0.
“It was in terms of results – certainly it was fine, " Keegan says. "I think performance-wise Friday night was decent without being anything more than decent.
“I was happy with how clinical we were because I don't think we carved out as many opportunities as I would have liked. Thankfully we took the vast majority of what we did create, but I was very annoyed to concede the sloppy late goal to be honest.
“Monday was a win, and it was a chance to give a lot of guys, who hadn't been starting, a game. We kept a clean sheet, so you could take positives definitely, but I'd be lying if I said otherwise, the performance was poor enough. We are through to the next round, we kept a clean sheet so you can take positives from it.”
Three teenagers were included in the United XI against Cockhill, which Keegan says is important in developing strength in depth this year.
“It was great to see that we have some. Don't get me wrong there was nobody found wanting. It is just that you probably would have liked one or two more to put themselves almost in a position where it was going to be near impossible not to pick them again.
“ Most of them did fine, but they didn't really make a name for themselves. Credit has to go to Cockhill, they came with a gameplan to make it difficult for us and if they had scored from a late set piece we couldn't have any complaints had they have done.”
Robbie Williams remains a doubt for the trip to Drogheda with a calf injury. “We will have a look on Thursday morning, see how he is feeling, he is probably 50-50 for Friday, but he has been each week,” Keegan adds. “It is an annoying one, it is nothing serious, it just won't go away at the same time.”
Robbie Keane traits
Furlong was rested for the Cockhill clash, but his crisp finishing was the difference against Cabinteely as the striker bagged a brace to make it six goals in three matches. “In fairness Danny's first four goals were about Danny being Danny, being in the right place at the right time to put the ball in the back of the net.
“I thought his two finishes the other night were both excellent. The first one he is going through at a tight angle and he strikes it off his slightly weaker foot, it was a great finish. The second one he just annoyed the defender into making an error, once he made the error it still took serious finishing.
“If he did nothing else only score, you'd be happy enough, but he does an awful lot more than that. His involvement in the build up play is excellent. I've mentioned stats previously, but the UCD game a couple of weeks ago which was a tough game for us when we had to put in a big effort, Danny topped the GPS that night in terms of most sprints made.
“He has a lot of Robbie Keane traits in that he can come towards the ball, get involved in the build up play, to pop it off. As soon as he pops it off he is thinking about how quickly he can get himself back into a goalscoring position. That is what makes him so dangerous, his movement is 10 out of 10.”
•Galway United Friends Co-op is running a bus to United Park on Friday, leaving The Dail Bar 3.pm. To book a seat contact Dominick Walsh 087 9163438 or Ronan Coleman 087 6972823.