League Preview: Galway United -v- Athlone Town

Fri, Jul 06 2018

Marc Ludden (right) stoops to head the ball in a recent stalemate with Cobh Ramblers. Credit: Steve Alfred

GALWAY UNITED

Alan Murphy's reign as Galway United manager begins with the visit of the league's bottom side, Athlone Town, to Eamonn Deacy Park (kick-off 7.45pm).

Gary O’Connor took charge of The Tribesmen last Friday night as the dust settled from Shane Keegan’s departure as manager of the team.

With time running out to get into the play0offs, and United struggling to get wins the response needed to stop the rot didn’t appear and were felled 1-2 at home to Shelbourne in another poor display.

It’s all change again this week as O’Connor has stepped aside also the club’s record goal scorer, and current player, Murphy will be taking over the reins until the end of the season.

Murphy will be assisted by another club legend in Mark Herrick, and the new manager is looking for major improvements on the field.

“A big performance is needed,” Murphy told the club’s website.

“Last week wasn’t good enough against Shelbourne and the last period of time hasn’t been good enough in general, in terms of performance.

“The players recognise that and we’ve had a lot of frank and honest discussions and I think we’re due a performance, with real visible effort, and to press the issue a little bit more on the pitch.

“The current group of players that are in my squad are hurting at the moment. They need confidence and confidence can only come from a performance and a win.

“It will be a 90 minute performance, it will be a committed performance and hopefully it will be a performance that Galway people and the club, squad and everyone involved can be proud of. We need to look forward with a bit of excitement for the weeks to come.

“I’m looking for people to back myself, Mark and the squad. Hopefully supporters will recognise the effort that we put in throughout the years for Galway United.

“When I say effort, I mean the endeavour, the will to win and character. That’s what we’re going to try and instill in our players.

“We want a little bit of metal, a little bit of character and a willingness to force the issue on the pitch.”

Murphy and his squad will get a boost with the returning Alex Byrne now in contention after serving a suspension last week.

They will still be without Maurice Nugent and Mikey Whelan, who remain sidelined through injury, while Aaron Conway is a doubt with a groin issue.

ATHLONE TOWN

Athlone finally got off the mark with a win last week over Wexford – albeit without scoring a goal.

Wexford may have won the game by a goal but Damian Locke’s introduction of the suspended Thomas Croke on the 65th minute led to the FAI overturning the result.

It may have been a win on a technicality but Terry Butler’s side will surely be thirsty to add more points to their total for the season when they meet Galway United on Friday night.

That being said, it’s still over a year since The Midlanders actually won a game over the course of 90 minutes.

Even facing a struggling Galway side, it still looks like they don’t have enough quality to get a result against The Tribesmen having lost to them twice already this season.

 

Referee: Eoghan O’Shea

 

MATCH STATS

Athlone may have gotten three points from last week’s game against Wexford on a technicality but they still have not won a match over 90 minutes since beating Cobh Ramblers 2-1 in May 2017.

These two sides have met twice already this season with The Tribesmen coming out on top on both occasions with a 4-1 win in Eamonn Deacy Park on the opening day of the season and then a 3-0 victory in Lissywoolen in May.

Galway United are without a win in six games.

 

BETTING

Galway United 3/19; Draw 17/2; Athlone Town 22/1.

PREDICTION

Galway United 2-0 Athlone Town

 

Galway United

Injured: Maurice Nugent, Mikey Whelan.

Doubtful: Aaron Conway.

Suspended: None.

Athlone Town

Injured: Unavailable.

Doubtful: Unavailable.

Suspended: None.