A tricky FAI Cup first round assignment beckons for Galway United, who face Dublin outfit Collinstown at Whitehall on Sunday (2pm ).
It promises to be a difficult tie for a youthful United side, who have not tasted victory in a competitive game since defeating Longford Town in May.
Last Friday’s Eamonn Deacy Park encounter proved to be another disappointing fixture for the Tribesmen, who were soundly beaten by promotion chasing Drogheda United.
That 1-3 reversal highlighted United’s naive defensive play with Drogheda able to capitalise on the mistakes made by the home team.
After the restart United were much improved, but Alan Murphy’s charges must be far more defiant if a shock is to be avoided in the capital.
“They are probably licking their lips to be honest,” Murphy says about the impending trip to the capital for the clash with non league Collinstown. “It will be difficult for us, but we will have the analysis done on them as much as we can.
“It is not easy as first division and premier division teams, but we will be right for it. We will hope to perform properly to be in the hat for the next round.”
One of the few sources of optimism in the Drogheda contest was the second-half display of debutant Stephen Christopher, who was prominent in a wide right role.
“I thought Stephen did wel. He is composed on the ball, he makes the right decision a lot of the time,” Murphy says. “We do have young players who make the wrong decisions at times, but that is their youth and inexperience.
“You bring a guy like Stephen Christopher on, he has 100 plus games, and you can see that experience in him. Yes, he is a bit light at times, but he will be a good player for us between now and the end of the season. He is another great guy to deal with, his attitude is brilliant.”
Murphy acknowledged that Drogheda exploited hesitancy in the home rearguard. “I thought we were decent for the first 20 minutes, we played some nice football and started the game well,” Murphy says. “Then a 10-minute period comes along where a goal goes in from a set piece and we had been given a warning twice previous to it.
"We’re not able to fix it on the pitch. The information went out, we just can’t fix it on the pitch, so therefore it happens. That weak side of us kicks in for another 10 minutes and the game is over.”
How United continue to leak such soft and preventable goals remains a huge worry. “We had gone through it all week. We knew they go to the back stick from Sean Brennan’s corners. We couldn’t have said it or couldn’t have practiced it any more, but it unfortunately doesn’t translate on to the pitch.”
The United boss accepts that a lack of confidence is a lingering issue for United, who will be hoping to receive an injection of hope and momentum in the cup.
“I don’t think they rolled over, but I think their confidence rolled over,” Murphy adds. “Players make mistakes when their confidence goes and they sit deeper and are more cautious when the exact opposite is needed, when pressure on the ball is needed, and to close space.
“They try to suck up pressure and maybe not make the run. They will only learn by us showing the simple mistakes.
"To some it may look like a roll over, but to me there’s no one rolling over in that dressing room. The bunch in there is a really committed group and are hurting every week because they’re inexperienced and because they’re making mistakes. That’s life, you have to hurt sometimes to move forward, and that’s what they’re doing.”