A game which will make, or could even break, each club’s seasons takes place this Friday evening in Eamonn Deacy Park, when Galway United host Bray Wanderers.
Galway come into the game off the back of a pre-season win against a Liverpool development squad, a match which finished 1-0 to the Tribesmen, with young Pádraig Cunningham scoring the only goal in their friendly encounter.
Tommy Dunne’s men find themselves sitting comfortably in 6th spot in a league table of two competitive halves with six points separating 6th and a relegation play-off spot and a tally of 12 points separating 6th and 7th position in the table. A gulf in quality and class is plain to see here.
Their last league game ended with the Tribesmen drubbing a lacklustre Limerick 4-2 in Markets Field.
Bray have had a week off from league action with Shamrock Rovers’ involvement in Europe, however they too came away from a pre-season friendly with a win under their belts, having beaten Wexford Youths 3-2 in Ferrycarrig on Saturday.
Bray come into the game off a high having beaten Derry City 1-0 at home in their last league game and travel to the west having won their last three league ties on the trot, only conceding one goal in their last four games
The hosts will be missing their top scorer Enda Curran, who is doubtful with a niggly hamstring along with Jason Molloy, who’s being classed at 50/50 for the game and long-term absentee Andy O’Connell is still sidelined with a foot injury.
Peter Cherrie will have had nightmares if he watched Galway United’s most recent displays, particularly Jake Keegan’s performance against Limerick in their last league outing.
Even with a young Tommy Holland playing possibly one of the best games of his career, the New York man left Markets Field with a hat-trick.
Dunne had this to say to GalwayUnitedFC.ie about the mid-table clash this Friday:
“We’re currently two points ahead of Bray and they’ve got a game in hand, so we know it will be a hugely important fixture.
“We’re six points away from the play-off position but we’re not that far away from Bohemians either, it will be a big ask to catch them, but that’s our aim, we’re looking up.
“Right now, we’re focusing on each game and we’re determined to consolidate our position in the Premier Division. A win against Bray Wanderers would aid our cause immensely.”
Bray Wanderers manager Mick Cooke will be more than confident when his side travel to the west, in particular with their current form and especially the solidity of his back four, with the organisation and communication being nothing short of exceptional recently.
They will not want a repeat of their last meeting against United, a game in which they conceded five goals with Curran tormenting Alan McNally and co.
David Cassidy (thigh) and Alan McNally (flu) are doubtful ahead of Friday’s clash and with Peter McGlynn (suspended) and Stephen McGuinness (ankle) unavailable Mick Cooke could be looking to use ex-St. Patrick’s Athletic trainee Peter Durand, who stands at 6’1″, to exploit the set-piece-wary Galway United.
A concern being voiced over and over again, and which is yet to be amended, is the shakiness of Galway in defending set-pieces – a flaw which every opposition they face aim, and time and time again, succeed to exploit.
Mick Cooke had this to say at training this week ahead of Friday’s clash:
“We have had a good week of training, the players have presented themselves at training with the right attitude and willingness to work hard towards gaining 3 points against Galway. The training sessions have had a good vibrant atmosphere to them.
“The 3 points against Derry was huge for us, we can now continue to look up the table. I was particularity pleased with the performance against Derry, who are always a tough side to play against.”
Injured: Andy O’Connel (Foot)
Doubtful: Jason Molloy, 50/50 (Knee) & Enda Curran (Hamstring)
Suspended: Peter McGlynn
Injured: Stephen McGuinness
Doubtful: David Cassidy (Thigh) Alan McNally (Flu)
Referee: Sean Grant
P.J Ó Cualáin, Pundit Arena