GALWAY United kick off their pre-season series of friendlies with a local derby clash against Sligo Rovers at Éamonn Deacy Park, Terryland this evening, Friday (7:45pm), with new manager Shane Keegan taking the reins for the first time.
The former Wexford Youths boss has had three weeks with his squad and, while preparations have been running smoothly, he was delighted that they now had a game to channel their enthusiasm into.
“The players have been working hard for the past three weeks but there is only so long you can keep motivation levels high without them getting out for a competitive 11 v 11. So, it will be good. We are only beginning to bed down the idea of shape of our team really and we did our first team shape this morning. So, I wouldn’t be expecting miracles from the lads (tonight).
“The Sligo game is more about getting the fitness element of it into them. As I said, it is shaping up well. They have been working very, very hard in fairness to them. So, we are looking forward to it, that is for sure.”
At present, Keegan has 22 players on the training ground, comprising of 17 signed up senior players and five of last year’s U-19 players, two of whom are U-19 again this season. “They are training with us at the moment and likely to sign first team forms over the coming week or two.”
With goalkeepers Ciaran Nugent (Sligo Rovers) and Conor Winn (re-signed) added recently to the set-up, Keegan highlighted that his squad was almost complete. Almost. “We probably could do with one more player,” he continued.
“We do still have our eyes open in terms of if there is somebody out there who might give us a little bit more strength and depth across the back. So, we are talking to one or two interesting options out there. Other than that, we are pretty much done and dusted and we will only bring in somebody else if the right player is out there and available at the right financial cost.”
Certainly, Keegan and United would appear to have done extremely well so far. After losing last year’s captain Ryan Connolly to Shamrock Rovers, the concern was that the side would struggle to replace a player of that quality.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.