United busy preparing for next week’s opener

Galway United travel to Turners Cross on February 25 for a clash against Cork City

In a new nine team SSE Airtricity League first division format, Galway United will not be in action until next week with manager John Caulfield satisfied with pre-season preparations.

Throughout the country matches commence tomorrow evening with United’s opening fixture scheduled for February 25 away to Cork City at Turners Cross.

Friday’s gritty performance when drawing against Bohemians at Eamonn Deacy Park augurs well according to Caulfield. “I think it was a very hard working display,” Caulfield says. “We know how Bohemians are, they are very good on the ball and they moved it very quick.

“So we had to work hard and the pleasing thing from our own point of view was obviously we kept a clean sheet. They had one shot that hit off a post and Conor Kearns made one very good save.

“Other than that they were the only two chances they had in the 90 minutes. We had been quite lively, particularly in the first half. On another day we might have taken one of our chances.

“Overall it was a high intensity match, it was a physical game and it was a good performance by us. After five or six weeks of pre-season it was nice to have a game of that intensity. I thought we did well.”

The upcoming Cork encounter will be revealing with Caulfield encouraged by the manner in which the recent recruits are integrating into the United set-up. “When you assemble any squad together you will always have young players, you will have a mixture of experience and some players coming into the league, some of the lads have come from junior football,” he replies.

“So you have to give everyone game time, that is what we have done over the pre-season games. It has been good from that point of view. Obviously as you get close to the start of the season you end up with a number of players, who will be in your squad and the core of maybe 16 players that are all competing for the 11 spots.

“Over the last number of weeks we are getting close to what we would see as being our stronger 15 or 16 players. It is probably just narrowing it down to what will be our starting team for the first game because obviously that will chop and change over the course of the season. We are looking forward to going down to Cork, we know how difficult that will be.

“At the same time we have prepared well in pre-season, we will need to be on our game. We still have a few decisions to make, but we are happy overall with the way the lads have done.”

Caulfield plans to attend the interesting Carlisle Grounds clash between Bray Wanderers and Cork City.

“I think it is always disappointing if you are not playing on the opening night of the league,” Caulfield says. “From a plus point of view it gives us an extra week preparation and we will have an intense training weekend.

“The fact that we play Cork the following weekend, I will go to watch Bray against Cork just to keep an eye to see how Cork are doing.

“On the plus side for us it means that when we start the league we don't have a break for any weekend, we go straight through to the mid season break. That is probably the plus about the fact we are not starting on Friday night.”


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