Galway United face an important SSE Airtricity League first division test against a highly regarded UCD outfit at Belfield on Friday evening
United boss Shane Keegan expects the students to be heavily involved in the promotion race and admits tomorrow’s clash in the capital will be revealing. UCD came from behind to secure a fine 2-1 win over Shelbourne on the opening night of the season.
Keegan admits an interesting encounter is in prospect against Dublin.
“It will be [interesting] because I would be very surprised not to see UCD finish in the top three," he says. “I think it is the first in a good few years they haven't lost all of their key players. They still have Maxim Kouogun at the back, Gary O'Neill, Greg Sloggett in the middle of the park, and Georgie Kelly at centre forward.
“That is probably as strong a spine as any team in the division. There seems to be a lot of talk about Longford, Harps, and ourselves, with UCD flying under the radar a little bit. I think they are an excellent side and if we can put it up to them and possibly taking something out of the game, that would be a very good indicator for us.”
Conor Melody has returned to light training, but remains the only absentee for United with Keegan confirming that Alex Byrne and Eoin McCormack should be available for selection.
“Mel [Conor Melody] has started back with running work and hopefully will be back in with the group next week which is great to see,” Keegan says. “To be honest had the Cobh game not been called off, Alex Byrne would have been a slight doubt and Eoin McCormack definitely would have missed it, so it was great for him. It gave him a rest he needed, he is back in training and I don't see any issue apart from Mel.”
Danny Furlong’s splendid hat-trick inspired United to a 4-1 success over Athlone Town, but Keegan was impressed with the impact made by substitutes Carlton Ubaezuonu and Conor Barry.
“I thought Carlton and Conor Barry were excellent when they came in. You can throw Mel in on top of that when he is back, it shows we do have an awful lot of attacking options in that final third.
“That is what you want. You want four attacking players on the field who can all do a job for you and one or two game changers on the bench.
“I think when we have everyone fit we will certainly have that, as Conor Barry and Carlton both showed. We have strength in depth, players such as Aaron Conway, Maurice Nugent, and Alan Murphy were all extremely unlucky to miss out against Athlone. We had tight calls in their positions so we have to be reasonably happy with the squad's strength in depth.”