Galway United will not be short of motivation entering the Carlisle Grounds tomorrow for a highly important clash with Bray Wanderers.
Two young outfits will collide, and after suffering against Dundalk last week, Galway will be intent on taking some sort of dividend from the trip to Wicklow.
While Dundalk dismissed a depleted Galway at Terryland Park by 3 - 0, Bray were enjoying themselves on the banks of the Boyne as an improving Drogheda United were defeated for the first time in a half dozen matches.
Galway are fully aware of the threat Bray carry.
“I don’t have to tell anybody how important next Friday is,” says United manager Ian Foster. “It’s even more important now after not picking anything up at home.
“We went down there last time and put in a decent performance, gave away two penalties in the 90th and 91st minute I think, and we were lucky to come away with a point. It is obvious that we can’t put in a performance like that because we’ll come second.”
With Shane Guthrie, Michael McGrath, and skipper Jay O’Shea suspended, Galway failed to test Dundalk.
“We had one shot on target, we didn’t test them all over the pitch, we didn’t get decent balls into the box, we didn’t keep possession, but they’re young players and some of them shouldn’t be learning at this level, but that’s unfortunately where we are at the moment.
“I’d love to spend money and bring in players, I just haven’t got it. What I have got to do is get better performances out of the players I’ve got and I’ll be planning to do that.
“But I think on the balance of things, looking at the game, you see how important Shane Guthrie is. He’s a mountain back there, he wins first balls, he wins second balls, he organises people, and I thought we missed him massively.”
There is no doubting Guthrie has been a key contributor for Galway alongside Garry Breen, and his return to the starting XI will be significant. McGrath has been solid in the centre of the park and can distribute the ball smartly, while O’Shea has a smashing record against his old club Bray, and could emerge as an influential figure.
Bray have a nice cocktail of youth and experience, but if Galway can deal with their enthusiasm, a positive result is possible.
•Galway United Supporters’ Trust will be running a bus to Friday evening’s match at the Carlisle Grounds, departing from Fibber Magees, Eyre Square, at 3pm. To book a seat contact Ronan Coleman 087-6972823.
It has been a difficult few weeks for Mervue United, who make the journey east for another awkward assignment with UCD tomorrow.
Martin Russell’s stylish students are very much in the promotion race, and will be expecting to land the full complement of spoils. Mervue have leaked far too many goals during heavy defeats to Shelbourne, Monaghan United, Kildare County, and Longford Town so they will be hoping to defend in a resolute fashion at the Belfield Bowl.
Scarcely aided by a lengthy injury list Mervue have encountered problems recently, but manager Johnny Glynn remains optimistic. “In our first 13 games we won four, drew three, and lost six. It was a very good start, and if you look at us now, I think we possibly overachieved at the start.
“The problem for us is expectation has gone up. People are wondering what has gone wrong, but I believe we’ll start to get it right soon enough. It’s not the end of the world, there’s no huge pressure on us. I’m not worried at all. We play the top five teams in the next few weeks which is going to be tough.”