Even though the League of Ireland season is barely a month old, Galway United’s encounter tomorrow with Drogheda United carries deep importance.
The diligent manner in which Galway have battled over the past fortnight means they travel to Drogheda with equal measures of hope and expectation ahead of this critical tussle.
Manager Sean Connor accepts this is the type of fixture, despite the continued absence of broken metatarsal victim Gary Curran, from which Galway must eke out a positive result.
"Every game in this division is a big game. Us, Drogheda, Bray, and possibly UCD, are in a league and, if we finish top of that mini league, we will have improved one place from last year.
“Apart from the Pat's game, nobody has beaten us well. We have played Bohs, UCD, and Sligo and only conceded the one goal, so we are looking more solid as the games go on.
“ It is going to be a long, hard season. I am not saying we deserved to win the Sligo game, but we could have got a point. They had lots of ball, but not too many clearcut chances, I thought we defended well. It was unfortunate the first goal came from a defensive mistake.
Connor says Gary Curran is a big player for United, but United is lacking a physical presence up front.
“Last year we had the pace of Karl Sheppard which was used to get us out of trouble, but we don't quite have that pace up front. We are working hard and the crowd was the biggest I think in two years and they certainly got plenty of effort from Galway United. In the end we were undone by a little bit of quality and that is the difference in the two budgets.”
Connor believes Galway are sound everywhere except in attack and the hopes to make important additions in the July transfer window.
"I think we would be up the table if we had Anto Flood and Karl Sheppard. We probably have a little bit better balance. Give me Rhys Meynell, O'Donnell, Flood, Sheppardand I would be pushing for the top five. I have players names on my desk, I have spoke to players, but financially we cannot do anything until we get through another couple of months and show the FAI that we are coping, which we are.”
Connor says if the crowds keep coming, he can look forward to strengthening the squad in July.
“There is certainly three or four players I would like to bring in and they know who they are and I know them, so it is a case of being patient and trying to keep as close as we can to the top five or six and not be cut adrift.”
A Galway win in Drogheda would nudge them six points clear of the basement boys. With that kind of incentive, Galway will be striving to remain safe and solid at the back and trust Alan Murphy and Bobby Ryan can prise the opportunities for willing frontrunner Joseph Yoffe to nick the goals his work rate merits.
• Galway United Supporters Trust will hold a general knowledge table quiz this evening (Thursday ) at Crowes Bar, Bohermore at 9pm. GUST will be running a bus to Friday’s match against Drogheda United, departing fron the Pillo Hotel, Headford Road, at 3.30pm.