Brandywell awaits tomorrow

While league football is more of a gruelling marathon than a sprint the occasional injection of pace can have drastic implications. Galway United’s four match unbeaten dash has put a spring in their step, and is why manager Ian Foster believes tomorrow’s trip to the Brandywell for an encounter with high flying Derry City should be relished.

“It will be a decent test for us because they’re a decent side, they’ll be competing to be champions and we’re under no illusion how tough it’s going to be. But the lads have got points on the board and what we have done is give themselves the right to go and have a right go at Derry.”

The central reason for this is that Galway’s defensive solidity has helped them to two wins and a similar number of draws. Three clean sheets have been registered during this efficient spell, and the training ground toil is evident between the white chalk lines every Friday night.

Foster accepts that being safe and solid is of paramount importance. “It’s something we work really hard on, it’s not just done by accident. We’ve got to start from there, we’ve got to be hard to beat defensively and we’re looking OK.

“We’ve got to be harder to beat that we were at times last season and we’re doing that at the moment. This will be a different kind of test for us, they can hurt you all over the park, Derry, and we’ve got to be ready for that.”

There is scant reason to suggest that Galway won’t be primed for battle. Goalkeeper Barry Ryan has been well protected thus far as Shane Guthrie and Garry Breen have settled seamlessly into the back four. Breen’s awareness and ability to commence attacks from the back are already an invaluable asset, while Guthrie’s honesty is laudable. In the full back positions Seamus Conneely and Iarfhlaith Davoren remain steady contributors, and are eager to venture down the line which is refreshing.

But the United squad will be cognisant that it will be an examination of character as much as craft because Derry are an evolving team who are adept at moving the ball out wide. So Conneely and Daveron’s relevance should not be underestimated.

Inevitably the midfield exchanges carry deep significance, and Galway’s inside trio of Cian McBrien, Sean Kelly, and Michael McGrath will hope to caress the ball carefully when in possession in order to negate Derry’s influence.

Foster’s options are modified as John Russell and Shane Fitzgerald are injured and Declan Edwards is banned, but Derry are also deprived of the services of Kevin Deery (knee ), and the suspended duo Clive Delaney and Mark Farren. Without Delaney’s aerial prowess and Farren’s clinical finishing the Derry team while still competent is not as formidable. That is why Galway will intend to make it to the interval on terms. If that initial target is attained hope and optimism will remain in the system, which is beneficial when seeking to eke out a tangible reward on the road.

 

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