Galway United make the long trek to Ballybofey tomorrow for a critical SSE Airtricity League first division encounter away to Finn Harps (8pm ).
Following Friday’s disappointing scoreless draw against Longford Town at Eamonn Deacy Park, United produced a much improved display despite losing narrowly 0-1 against topflight outfit Sligo Rovers in the EA Sports Cup.
That plucky performance, though, was United’s most encouraging display in 2018 and manager Shane Keegan acknowledges that a significant match awaits in Donegal.
“To get three points away to any top half of the table team in the first division at the moment is colossal. It is a good result to get three points at home against that type of a team, so it would be fantastic to get three points away.
“We are going to go up there to try to get that. Harps, like ourselves, haven't really got going yet, and I don't think it gets much tougher than Harps in Ballybofey. We are capable of going to do it and the Sligo game might re-inject us with a bit of belief, that we are a very good side.”
Keegan was satisfied with how United, prompted by fine displays from Alan Murphy, Conor Barry, and Conor Melody, competed against the Bit O’Red on Easter Monday.
“I suppose it was a fairly quick and short debrief,” Keegan reflected. “Three points needed to be made, the first point is we lost the game, therefore we shouldn't be happy that we lost the game. The second point is it was our best performance of the season. The third point is we are better equipped to go to beat Finn Harps on Friday than we were before the game started.
"So two out of three isn't bad and we have two very good points to be building on. We are annoyed with the goal, but really happy with the performance.”
“I normally wouldn't be that into the EA Cup to be honest, I tend to use it to make a lot of changes, but the difference here was not that I desperately wanted to get through to the next round, it was we hadn't been playing fantastically. We just need to play our way into form, to find form by working hard and staying at it.
“We went to have a look at a different shape, to see if that would make a difference and that is why the team I picked on Friday morning changed because we didn't have a good result on Friday. We were still looking to get momentum going so we went with a stronger side than I had intended to, but that was on the back of not winning the game on Friday night."
It served its purpose in every way, he says.
"If we hadn't lost the game it would have been even more of a morale booster. The lads know they have played well and it was exactly what they needed heading into a huge game on Friday night.”