League Preview: Galway United -v- Athlone Townby Paul Corcoran
Galway United will be looking to return to winning ways when they host Athlone Town at Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday night (kick-off 7.45pm).
Two weeks ago, the Tribesmen suffered a huge blow to their promotion ambitions when they were defeated 4-0 by Shelbourne at Tolka Park.
All is not lost for John Caulfield’s side however, they lie just two points outside the playoff positions and a win on Friday could even move them above Athlone Town and into third place.
Caulfield welcomed the mid-season break and the manager is ready for the rest of the First Division campaign starting with Friday night’s fixture.
“After the first third of the season during the break we were simply hoping to recharge the batteries. When you get the break I think it is good for everyone to recharge, to reflect on where we are at,” Caulfield said, speaking to the club’s media team.
“Once you get that rest you start to look ahead and we are excited about this week’s game. Some of our injury situations have cleared up which is another positive for us.
“Athlone have started the season incredibly well. They won a good few of their early matches and this league is very competitive. At the start they blazed a trail to open a gap early on.
“This league has shown that week in, week out anyone can beat anyone else. At the moment we are trying to see can we get a win under our belt, to try to get some consistency into our game.”
Some of the injury issues have cleared up for the Tribesmen, although Francely Lomboto and Ronan Manning are still out long-term. Stephen Walsh is also absent as he continues to serve a suspension having been sent off hen Galway faced Cork City several weeks ago.
After such a bright start to this season’s First Division which saw Adrian Carberry’s men win four of their opening five fixtures, the Town have now only won one of their last five games.
Athlone faced UCD in their last game before the mid-season break but despite going into a two goal lead in the first half, the Students managed to battel back and win 3-2 to take all three points at Lissywollen.
It took a Mark Dignam goal in the 92nd minute to give Athlone their fourth loss of the season.
They are still in third place however, and a win on Friday night could bring them level on points with second place Treaty United, the Town need to ensure that their dip in form won’t plague them for the rest of the 2021 season however.
There is some controversy coming into this game for the visitors with the club announcing, on Wednesday, that they are investigating claims that two of their players travelled abroad during the mid-season break.
Athlone have not identified the players but have said that they will not feature in the match-day squad.
Referee: Michael Connolly
Galway and Athlone met in April with Adrian Carberry’s side winning 3-1, their first time claiming victory over the Tribesmen since 2006.
The Town have lost four of their last five games in the First Division.
United have won two of their last five League games.
Galway United 4/5; Draw 11/4; Athlone Town 13/5.
Galway United 1–1 Athlone Town
Injured: Francely Lomboto, Ronan Manning.
Suspended: Stephen Walsh.
Suspended: Tumelo Tlou.