Having made strides last season, Mervue United's current league position at the foot of the Airtricity League first division table means added significance is attached to tomorrow's Fahy Field encounter with Waterford United.
Five defeats on the spin does not augur well for Mervue, who, with a string of key performers having departed in the close season, also have struggled to cope with injury problems. Those are crucial reasons why Mervue have been outfoxed in all their games so far in 2012 and Johnny Glynn's charges know that improvement will be necessary during the coming weeks and months.
Mervue's latest loss happened at Ferrycarrig Park where the concession of two opening-period goals proved costly against Wexford Youths. Ten goals have been leaked in five matches, so Mervue must tighten up their defence if they are to climb the table.
At present Mervue trail fourth place Athlone Town by nine points and even Waterford, two places above the Galway outfit, have pocketed six with two victories. Even at this relatively early stage in the campaign the statistics are grim for the western representatives in the division as Mervue and SD Galway are the only clubs in the league not to have posted a win.
It has been a peculiar start for Waterford too as their form has fluctuated. Surprisingly hammered by Wexford, Waterford subsequently responded by beating promotion favourites Limerick FC. That result showed Waterford are capable when the mood strikes, but Mervue will still feel a positive outcome is possible.
Glynn is an organised manager and he will be keen not to allow the well-travelled Waterford midfielder Gary Dempsey too much room to control the contest. Dempsey was an influential figure for Bray Wanderers in the top flight only a year ago and has provided glimpses of his ability for Waterford. There is a new look to Mervue's squad now with Ronan Forde, Mike Elwood, Alex Lee, Jason Molloy, and Etanda Nkololo all expected to occupy leading roles when Waterford enter Fahy's Field for a hugely important fixture.
SD Galway encouraged
SD Galway will have taken confidence from Friday's Terryland Park stalemate with league leaders Longford Town. Before that tussle Longford had a flawless record, so SD Galway's hearty performance leaves them encouraged ahead of tomorrow's trip to Ballybofey for a clash with Finn Harps.
On the Dyke Road SD Galway have drawn with Wexford and Longford, but on the road Athlone Town, Limerick FC, and Waterford United have all defeated Tony Mannion's side. Despite those reversals SD Galway have been fairly competitive and, with Mannion in the dug out, they will be eager to avoid another away setback.
Harps have collected six points from their first five encounters, but SD Galway will feel they can examine the Donegal club which has plenty of promising youngsters involved again this term.
SD Galway have a similar age profile in their own squad with Tom Bradshaw, Cian Fadden, Enda Curran, and Ronan Conlon offering the promise alongside the more experienced Mike Tierney, Nicky Curran, Mixie Harty, and Eric Browne.
Galway United won their final match of the Airtricity League u-19 campaign against FC Carlow at East United on Sunday.
A first-half Ruairi Lavelle goal and a Danny Marnell hat-trick gave United a 4-3 victory.