Connection between team and supporters critical says Caulfield

Galway United host Athlone Town on Friday at Eamonn Deacy Park

Galway United manager John Caulfield is urging supporters to get to Eamonn Deacy Park early on Friday evening ahead of a vital SSE Airtricity League first division encounter against Athlone Town (7.45pm ).

A composed performance at Ferrycarrig Park was rewarded with a 4-0 win over Wexford FC with Caulfield delighted that United return to action in the west of Ireland tomorrow.

"I hope supporters can get into the ground early," Caulfield says. "It is fantastic that a connection is being built and I would love to see supporters get into the ground early when the team is warming up. I'd appeal to our younger supporters to get in to watch what the team is doing, to get the noise going."

United's passionate travelling contingent were in full voice singing some crafty new tunes in Wexford. Caulfield is delighted with his squad's application on the pitch. "You are trying to create that close relationship between the supporters and the team," Caulfield replies.

"That is what it is about, the team represents the people of Galway. You want the supporters to buy in. It is fantastic when you go to Wexford, probably the longest drive of all of the matches, four and a half hours up and down so to see a bus and several people driving, it is brilliant for the players to see that and they responded to that too not only in Wexford, but also in Cobh the week before, and in Waterford a few weeks earlier.

"It is fantastic and it is brilliant for our own supporters to see the team doing so well, and the enjoyment the team is giving them too.We are back at home and for people that haven't seen us in maybe a month it is an opportunity to come back out in big numbers to get behind the team again."

Three of United's most influential performers - Killian Brouder, Stephen Walsh (2 ), and David Hurley bagged goals during the Wexford victory. "We started the game really well, we were on the front foot," Caulfield says.

"We played really well, we passed the ball very well. Obviously we created a number of chances so our first half was impressive. Killian Brouder scored a great header, then Stephen Walsh had a brilliant turn in the box, and he finished into the bottom corner. We were two up after 15 minutes, it sort of rocked Wexford. From there until half-time we dominated the game, Stephen Walsh got a second goal, we were three up at half-time, and probably it deflated Wexford.

"Dave Hurley got the fourth in the second half from the penalty spot, to go away to Wexford, to put in such a strong performance to get four goals and keep a clean sheet - we are very happy with that."

Now United must embrace the next challenge, a home fixture against Athlone Town. "It is a different type of game because sometimes when you go away from home the home team has an onus to come out to attack you," Caulfield replies.

"It becomes a much more open game, we have found in Terryland this season that a number of teams have sat in with most of their players behind the ball. It is a more difficult challenge to break teams down. Obviously since Dermot Lennon has taken over Athlone in their last three matches they have been very unlucky to lose with a late goal scored by Waterford. Cork got a goal in injury time to beat them 2-1, and then last week they lost 2-1 to Longford.

"Despite the fact they are at the bottom in their last three games they have only lost by one goal. In all of those games the goals have come late on. It shows you how much they have improved and how they are playing for Dermot Lennon. We know all about Carlton [Ubaezuonu], Shane Barnes, Thomas Oluwa, and Micheal Schlingermann.

"We know the players they have and as I keep saying every week it is a new challenge. In the position we are in - at the top of the table - we are hoping for a massive crowd. The fact we haven't been at home for three weeks and it is our first Friday home match in five weeks, so we are hoping for an enormous crowd. We hope the crowd get in early to get really behind the team as they have done so far this season."

**Listen to the full interview with Galway United manager John Caulfield on this week's 'Cian on Sport' podcast available on Soundcloud, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts.


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