Galway United manager Sean Connor has accepted that a relegation play-off with Bray Wanderers is inevitable, but insists tomorrow’s trip to the Morton Stadium in Santry for a clash against Sporting Fingal carries importance as the Tribesmen seek an injection of confidence.
Defeats to Shamrock Rovers (twice ), Dundalk, and UCD have left Galway reeling, but Connor wants his young squad to start their recovery mission in the capital.
"It’s 100 per cent the play-offs for us now. We started off brightly enough against UCD, but we gifted them two goals. In the first half we were probably the better team and they had three chances - two goals and they hit the post too. We haven't been defending properly by simply clearing our lines.
"It has been the same for the last three or four games and my job now is to go and pick these players up. We also need to address the problems we are having and we have to work. I am solely concentrated on Fingal on Friday and trying to get this team's confidence back up before we play Bray in the play-offs which is inevitable.”
Connor is in no position to make changes.
“I haven't been able to bring the young lads into a positive environment - it has nearly always been in a negative situation. This is the budget I have been given and this is the hand I have been dealt. I will be working hard to keep us in the premier division, that is my job.”
The past couple of fixtures have been packed with difficulty for a makeshift Galway outfit as regular goalkeeper Barry Ryan and a clutch of defenders have been serving bans which has not helped Connor’s cause.
"It is very difficult to take because if you analyse the first half against UCD we had 70 per cent possession, had a goal disallowed, and had numerous half chances before they scored. They scored totally against the run of play which killed us. Again we were positive after they scored, Barry Ryan has been a big loss and 17 goals in four games speaks for itself.
"Barry was culpable in his actions too because he is a senior professional. The problems we are having now is what you get when you have a small squad. People can talk about budgets, finance and keeping things tight, but realistically we are playing with an average first division budget.
"If you take two players out of my team, it is a catastrophe. If Pat Fenlon has a problem up front, he has several players to choose from, I have one recognised striker at the club, Karl Sheppard.”
Though only a couple of weeks remain in the campaign, Connor wants to recapture the drive and determination that was such a feature in Galway’s play before the recent reversals.
“I thought we started brightly against UCD, we went behind, but kept going. Then in the second half we threw in the towel and that is more worrying for me than anything else. A few of them stopped chasing and that is something I will have to address.”
• Galway United Supporters’ Trust will be running a bus to Friday evening’s premier division match at Morton Stadium, departing from the Marriott Hotel, Headford Road, at 4pm. To book a seat contact Ronan Coleman 087-6972823. GUST LFC take on Salthill Devon in the Galway Women’s Senior Cup final at Terryland Park on Sunday, October 17, at 4pm.