Galway United manager John Caulfield is eager that his team responds following last week’s setback, when hosting Cobh Ramblers in the SSE Aitricity League first division at Eamonn Deacy Park tomorrow (7.45pm ).
A disappointing 2-1 loss to Longford Town at Bishopsgate on Friday hurt deeply, but Caulfield expects an improved display on home turf.
“The team has been really, really good in the first couple of months of the season,” Caulfield says. “On Friday we just didn't bring our best game. As I have said if you don't play at your best you can drop points. That is what happened the other night, it is over and done with. The team had done really well in the opening five games.”
So far in 2022 United have only played two of their first six fixtures in the west with Caulfield delighted to return to the Corribside venue.
“We are at home on Friday, it is only our second Friday home game since the start of the season which is incredible, it has been so long,” he adds. “We are second in the table and we would love a massive crowd like we had against Waterford when we had more than 3,000.
“We are looking forward to hopefully getting a massive crowd and getting that massive support behind us. Hopefully we can give a top performance to get the result.”
With Diego Portilla and Manu Dimas suffering with illness and Alex Murphy on Republic of Ireland U19 duty Caulfield’s options were restricted in the midlands. “It was a combination that the Spanish lads were out sick for the week and Alex Murphy was away with the U19s, but it would be wrong to just say that.” Caulfield replied.
“Charlie Lyons came in, he did very well, Max Hemmings came in, did very well. Just on the night we didn't perform as a group as well as we can.”
The fact that Ronan Manning is available once more following a cruciate ligament knee injury is a significant boost. “Ronan Manning is coming back, he needs some game time, it is always difficult,” Caulfield says.
“With Francely Lomboto and Ronan Manning, when you have been out for a full year, but thankfully they are back in training. Francely has got a little bit of game time, hopefully Ronan will too. There is no doubt that both players will have a big role to play over the next six or seven months.”
Now Caulfield is hopeful that United can enjoy a productive stint in the west. “In April we have three games at home after literally being away for so long,” he adds. “It will give our supporters an opportunity and we need that. We need our fans to come to the games, they have been brilliant - even travelling away with us to Athlone and venues like that. We are at home now, we just need the crowd to buy in behind these lads.
“They have so far, hopefully that will continue because it makes a massive difference to the team when you have everyone getting behind them, egging them on. We need to turn Eamonn Deacy Park into a fortress. We have been thrilled with the support we have got in our home games. Long may that continue.”
A highly competitive division is unfolding, but Caulfield is not surprised. “That is the way the league is going to be, I said that from the outskirts,” he says.
“The most important thing for us as a group and as a team is making sure we can perform to our highest level. While we respect every team, I still believe if we play to the best of our ability - which we have done on numerous occasions - I am quite sure we will win. It is about concentrating, making sure we bring our best game on Friday night. That is what we are concentrating on.”
**Listen to the full interview with Galway United manager John Caulfield on this week’s ‘Cian on Sport’ podcast available on Soundcloud, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts.