United prepare for top-of-the-table clash with Bray

Ronan Manning could be fit to start for Galway United this weekend.

Ronan Manning could be fit to start for Galway United this weekend.

Galway United men's 1st X1 face their nearest challengers, second-placed Bray Wanderers, in a top-of-the-table tie in Eamonn Deacy Park tomorow (7.45pm ).

Boasting eight league wins on the bounce, United achieved a feat unparalleled in the club's history, having overcome Wexford by 4-0 last weekend.

While their previous win over Athlone was a titanic tussle, last weekend's victory over Wexford was far more routine. Goals from David Hurley, Francely Lomboto, Darren Clarke and Vincent Borden put the shine on a fine team effort.

John Caulfield was measured in his appraisal of the performance.

"Wexford is a difficult venue. To be fair to them, Conor Levingston, [Brandon] McCann and [Aaron] Robinson, three of their strongest midfielders, were out on the night.

"We had a late blow in Ronan Manning being out. At the same time, we were dominant in the game. It was certainly pleasing to keep a clean sheet and score four goals."

Remarkably, for a team that has played five times on the road it was United's fifth clean sheet of the campaign. It is an area of particular focus for the management team while also averaging nearly three goals a game.

Caulfield has confirmed that Regan Donelon and Ronan Manning are back in training, and there is hope they will be in contention for the squad tomorrow.

That news is particularly positive as United face one of their trickiest tests so far this season. Bray have only been beaten once, and that was when they were reduced to 10 men in Cobh a fortnight ago.

The United boss is full of admiration for the job of his counterpart.

"Ian [Ryan] has come in and he has brought a core of Wexford lads with him. Luka Lovic, Harry Groome, Alex Moody and Conor Crowley are tried and trusted players.

"Outside of that he has brought in Dane Massey, a serial winner with Dundalk. David Webster is another massive player for them. Up front, Chris Lyons has been a prolific goalscorer. They have a great blend of experience and lots of energy in their team."

Tomorrow's encounter has the hallmarks and feel of a big game. The visitors have already shown enough to mark themselves as contenders this season. The game in Terryland may lay down a marker for the long season ahead.

United have a number of things in their favour heading into it. Confidence and morale must be at a high. The opening weeks have proved there is a strength of character and depth in the squad. Wexford offered more evidence of this with Lomboto scoring in just his second start and his replacement Clarke again scoring from the bench.

The Tribesmen will enjoy home advantage for just the fourth time this season. The numbers and decibels from the away fans have been increasing every week. This trend will need to continue at home if United are to achieve their ambition.


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