Following a bitterly disappointing weekend, Galway United will be eager to respond when hosting Waterford FC in the SSE Airtricity League first division at Eamonn Deacy Park tomorrow (7.45pm ).
Friday’s scoreless draw against Treaty United was a setback, while Monday’s 2-0 loss to Longford Town hurt the visitors deeply.
“It was disappointing,” United manager John Caulfield says. “The Treaty game was certainly a game of missed chances. Their goalkeeper was man of the match, we certainly had four or five chances, but we just didn't take any of them.
“That was the most frustrating thing because we totally dominated the game, but on Monday night we were well beaten by Longford. We conceded from two set pieces which is unlike us. It was a flat performance. We didn't deserve anything out of the game.”
Now United face Waterford in a critical encounter at the Corribside venue. “Overall it just shows you in this league how difficult it is, how every game is so tough,” Caulfield adds. “You just need to be on your game. All of a sudden we have gone from leading the table to four points off the top. That is what happens if you drop points over a couple of games.
“The only good thing about it is we are at home on Friday night against Waterford, one of the other title challengers. It is an exciting game and we know will have to be at our best to get a result.”
Caulfield is fully aware of Waterford’s considerable potential with new head coach Danny Searle steering them to a convincing 5-2 success over Athlone Town.
“They have been taken over by a new manager, they are on a great run of form,” Caulfield says. “We saw them earlier in the season in Terryland - they were really, really impressive in the first half, and they led two nil at half-time. We had a storming second half to bring it back to two all, and possibly should have won the game.
“They are on a great run of form, they can see themselves now challenging for that top spot too, along with Cork and ourselves. It is going to be an incredibly tough game, they have exciting players with Patterson, Junior, and Kavanagh up top.
“We know that they are a very good side, but the most important thing for us is that we have to bounce back, to show the character that we have shown for most of the season. While it is a difficult game, it is at home.
“Again we need the crowd - right from the start - getting behind the team which they have done all season, but certainly we will have to play exceptionally well if we are to get a result.”
Ultimately Caulfield is optimistic that his United squad can still prosper. “In football, it is funny, you look at over the last month we have led the table twice and we have lost afterwards,” he replies.
“I keep saying it is a new team, there is always learnings when expectations are high. The club has dramatically come from not challenging for years and years to all of a sudden being near the top of the table since the start of the season.
“There are challenges in how to deal with that. It is always a test for players in how to cope with it. This is when you need players to stand up, to understand that if you are after a bad performance, the next day you have to get it out of your system, to be ready to go. Hopefully on Friday night we will be able to bounce back.”
**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.