Galway United will travel the N17 on Saturday to the Showgrounds eager to regain respectability after suffering an eight-goal defeat to Sligo Rovers ealier in the season.
That Terryland Park mauling in July was a crushing night for Galway, possibly the lowest point of their season. They were torched by the title chasers who continue to produce smashing footballing displays.
Despite losing in the last two outings with John Brennan in charge, United have shown a willingness to pass the ball themselves, but Sligo's players are operating at a higher level and the visitors must be resilient dealing with the expected onslaught.
Sligo's squad features a string of former Galway favourites who have all occupied significant roles in a dramatic campaign for the Bit O'Red. Alan Keane, Iarfhlaith Davoren, John Russell, and Aaron Greene have been key figures for Paul Cook during an exacting year stuffed with fixtures in several competitions.
Reflecting on the gutsy performance against Bohemians, Brennan admitted there was room for improvement, but Galway are striving to stop leaking soft early goals.
"I think the players could have done better because the way we trained during the week their attitude was great. We tried to say to them, don't go a goal down after 10 minutes, but when you are up against a player like Killian Brennan who can strike the ball so well, there is nothing you can do. I thought we could have got an extra man in the wall, but that is the way it goes really. We told the lads to keep it tight and to keep going. We wanted them to express themselves, to try to play football, and that is basically what we are trying to do.
"When the penalty went in, we were two nil behind and down to 10 men, and it was going to be very hard from there. I tried to change the shape a bit where we went three at the back to have a bit of attacking momentum. Then a third goal went in and I said, ‘let us put a defence back on’ because I didn't want to concede more goals than that.
Brennan said United did not go out to defend and they will not be in the future.
“My whole style of play is to keep it tight really for the first half to keep us in the game. At one nil down I still thought we were in the game. What I don't want is a situation where we are three or four goals down at the break, we are trying to be competitive."
For the past month it has been apparent that Galway's season will be defined in a two-legged play off with the third placed side in the first division. Brennan, who is enjoying his new role, wants Galway to register a couple of victories before then with a passing style.
"It is a step-up to what I have done before, I am dealing with adults now. I am looking at how to motivate them, but I am well able for it. The play-off is basically what matters. We have to get the lads’ heads around that, to be tuned into that. The Bohemians game is over now, let us get on to the next.
"It is all about keeping possession because you will make the other team work hard. We tried to play football. If we kick the ball long, giving it back to the opposition, we will be chasing it, and we will be knackered. It is about keeping the ball and keeping possession. I hate losing and the players hate losing, but we are trying to get into a winning habit."