League of Ireland football resumes following a fortnight's break and Galway United's Terryland Park collision with Derry City carries huge significance for Sean Connor's charges. Terminating the club's unwanted record for the number of consecutive defeats, currently standing at 19 is the mission, but it will be awkward against a capable Derry side. The Candystripes, always eager to pass and probe, are one of the Division's most attractive outfits so Galway will need to be willing and able from the first whistle.
In these testing times any crumb of comfort is welcome and Galway's A Championship XI secured a decent victory in the capital on Monday when surprising St Patrick's Athletic. That both goals were bagged by recent Korean recruit Jin Gu Kim, who made his first team debut when Galway lost to Drogheda United, offered another drop of encouragement. Kim's compatriot Yob Son also featured in Drogheda, but was red carded late on ruling him out of contention for the Derry clash.
Considering all the upheaval with the management committee recommending the removal of Connor as manager and the board of directors not being on the same page, the next couple of weeks are extremely important for Galway. Now nine points behind Drogheda with 12 matches remaining the odds on catching the Boynesiders appear slim, but improving the performances and eradicating basic mistakes is what everyone associated with Galway wants to witness. Connor's hand has been weakened severely by the loss of so many frontline performers during the past 18 months, and the fact that he is being forced to introduce a raft of untried footballers is far from ideal.
Still that is the unfortunate position Galway are in, and from this point until November Connor will be planning and plotting with Alan Murphy providing the on field guidance and leadership. While Connor would ideally like to have Murphy in attack to offer a threat, the Ballinrobe native is likely to be in the centre of the park for tomorrow's tussle due to Yob Son's ban, so Mikey Gilmore and Ronan Caldwell may be paired together up front.
While neither of that partnership has yet to nick a top flight goal between them they have both contributed wholehearted displays in the maroon jersey. Such pluck and perseverance must be demonstrated against the Candystripes, who cannot be permitted too much time and space to parade their normal passing routines. Stephen Kenny has stitched a talented panel together at the Brandywell and will be delighted that they only sit two points behind table toppers Sligo Rovers, the last visitors Corribside, who mauled Galway by eight. Derry are the top scorers in the country and contain a nice blend of youth and experience with Eddie McCallion, Kevin Deery, Patrick McEleney, Gareth McGlynn, and the highly regarded James McClean all enjoying productive campaigns. McClean is the subject of cross channel interest from several Football League clubs and showcased his talents the last time he was involved Corribside back in April, when hitting a brace that nudged Derry to a comfortable 4-1 win. Dyke Road regulars will hope that a similar outcome is avoided, but the realists are completely aware of the grim reality that the majority of players in their own squad have yet to supply sufficient evidence to suggest they can operate at this level.