A busy weekend beckons for Galway United, who host Longford Town on Friday evening at Eamonn Deacy Park before travelling to the Carlisle Grounds for a clash against Bray Wanderers on Monday in the SSE Airtricity League first division,
United have taken plenty of encouragement from a recent run of two victories in three games, with returning goalkeeper Kevin Horgan prominent, registering two clean sheets in the triumphs over Athlone Town and Wexford FC.
Those positive results have injected some belief and confidence into a youthful United squad ahead of the upcoming tussle with Longford.
Manager Alan Murphy is encouraged with how the United players have fared during the past month.
“It will be a big challenge for us against a Longford team, who are probably the standout team in the league this year, with the exception of last weekend's result, a really narrow 1-0 loss against Cabinteely,” Murphy says.
“I'm a bit of an expert talking about 1-0 defeats, and how they can maybe cloud the amount of work going on. We will be going into the game preparing exactly like we have prepared all season long. We have done our homework, we will be ambitious, and we will work hard. We will have a team on the pitch that will be trying to win the game.”
That so many young footballers from the western region are being given opportunities by Murphy is important. and the United boss is adamant the club can develop further.
“I think our luck has turned slightly. Kevin coming back has been a really good addition in terms of that character we need to push on up the table,” he says. “It is a work in progress. Every week is a different conundrum to fix and to prepare a team that, as a basic requirement, will give their all. They will be really honest and hardworking, that is a given now, which reassures us we are doing the right thing.
“We are working towards something that is going to be sustainable and that people can be proud of - not in a cloud or limbo worrying about what will happen next year when these 10 or 11 players brought in not from Galway will leave.
“We can see now that we are planning for the future. We are taking steps towards it, small steps at times. There is now a plan and a real structure to what we are doing so that can only be good.”
Six of United’s seven losses have been by a single goal, and Murphy is delighted by his squad's attitude and application.
“It is a basic requirement that a lot of teams basically can't fulfil that criteria of working hard and having passion in what they want to do.
“It is a sad state of affairs to say that, but this year we are on the right road and we are definitely ticking that box. We are ticking a lot of other boxes in terms of quality, in terms of the product we are putting on the pitch. That quality of young player in Galway and the surrounding region that we are now giving our own a chance.
“In my mind, and I'm the one that sees it on a daily basis, I'm closer to the heartbeat than anyone else, and it is definitely working. It definitely is gathering momentum every week, it is very enjoyable to be working with this talented group of players.”