Shane Keegan’s men kick-off their First Division campaign with a home fixture against historical rivals Athlone Town on Friday night in Eamonn Deacy Park.
After suffering relegation during last year’s Premier Division the Tribesmen will be looking to make a swift return to the top flight starting with a win on Friday night.
"We're just waiting for the whistle to blow now on Friday night. We've managed to assemble what looks like a really good squad. I think week by week, performance by performance, we will develop and get to the level we would hope to be at. Our quality and mental strength needs to be at the fore over the first few weeks of the season, to make sure that we get the results that we need,” Shane Keegan said speaking to the club’s website.
"We have to go out and do the business on Friday night. It sits a little uneasy with me how little I've seen of Athlone Town in pre-season. Their last two friendlies have been called off so I haven't had an opportunity to watch them. I do really like to know the opposition inside out, but that has to be shoved to one side, it's up to us to make sure that the game is played on our terms as much as possible.
"We do need to hit the ground running, it's so important that we don't latch ourselves on to any excuses. We go out, we perform and we go and do the business. It has to be as simple as that."
Galway United confirmed the marquee signing of striker Danny Furlong earlier this week. Furlong previously worked with Keegan at Wexford where he scored thirty goals during their First Division winning season in 2015. Shane Keegan also added former Bristol City midfielder Harrison Reeves to his squad on the eve of the club’s tie against Athlone.
Conor Melody is United’s only absentee with the midfielder struggling with a knee injury.
Athlone Town will be looking for a turnaround in their fortunes on the pitch when they meet Galway United on Friday night. The Midlanders have propped up the First Division in last place for two seasons running and they’ll certainly be trying to avoid the wooden spoon for a third year in a row.
With Roddy Collins moving upstairs as general manager and Aaron Callaghan coming in as first team manager it’s been all changes at the club. The 51 year old returns to managing in the League of Ireland for the first time since 2014 when his UCD side were relegated to the First Division.
Conor Gleeson, Stephen Walsh and Conor Layng all left Athlone during the off season to join Galway United, moves which could ramp up the interest in this tie for both sets of fans as the clubs reignite their rivalry on Friday night.
Referee: David Keeler
Friday night’s game between the two clubs will be their first competitive meeting since 2008.
Galway United ran out 4-1 winners at home that night, knocking Athlone Town out of that season’s FAI Cup.
John Lester, John Fitzgerald, Jesper Jorgensen and Jay O’Shea were all on the scoresheet for Galway while Robbie Hamm grabbed Athlone’s only goal of the game.
Galway United 1/9; Draw 12/1; Athlone Town 28/1.
Galway United 3-0 Athlone Town
Injured: Conor Melody.
Suspended: Igor Labuts, Jason Lyons and Dragos Sfrijan.