Manager Caulfield urges players not to let standards slip as season resumes


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Manager Caulfield urges players not to let standards slip as season resumes Manager Caulfield urges players not to let standards slip as season resumes

JOHN Caulfield has issued a battle cry to his runaway First Division table-topping squad to keep their feet firmly on the pedal ahead of the resumption of the League of Ireland season.

The Galway United boss is resisting all notions that the second half of their league campaign is to all intents a long coronation of the Tribesmen as First Division champions.

With 19 matches still to be played and with second in the table, Waterford FC, not giving up the ghost on retrieving a ten-point deficit, Caulfield has no truck with notions that his team are uncatchable.

“We are only halfway there and we still have to play Waterford twice more. When your team is on top, it has a target on its back. We still have work to be done,” he said.

United’s campaign resumes against struggling Longford Town – the only team to have lowered the Tribesmen’s colours this season – at Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday night (7:45pm).

“They are always a team which causes us trouble. Though Longford are near the foot of the table, their defence is quite decent and they tend not to concede many goals,” said Caulfield.

With the mid-season break affording his squad some valuable time off, the Utd supremo admits that he would have “preferred to have kept things going” – hardly a surprising view given that United have only dropped four points in their campaign to date.

Caulfield revealed that Ronan Manning is ready to return to first team duty after being sidelined with a hamstring injury, but added that the Longford game might come too soon for Colm Horgan who is also back in training.

In their previous outing, United chalked up a remarkable 17th victory of the campaign when overcoming Wexford FC 2-0 thanks to goals from Ed McCarthy and a first ever in the Galway colours for skipper Conor McCormack.

Caulfield knows that automatic promotion is already in United’s own hands, and he naturally will be keen to avoid the play-offs which have proven the deathknell for the club’s ambitions of going up in each of the last three seasons.

When the Roscommon native arrived in Terryland in August of 2020, United were in mid-table, a part-time outfit and struggling to put the required structures in place. The club is in a different place now and unless they implode over the coming months, top-flight football is guaranteed for the Westerners.

Friday’s visitors Longford Town are second from bottom of the table with only league newcomers Kerry FC below them. They have only won four of their 19 league outings to date and were edged out 3-2 by fellow strugglers Finn Harps in the team’s previous outing.

“Of course, we are in a good position but when you are leading the way expectations become higher. I have been down this road before and it’s all about not getting ahead of ourselves.”

Under Caulfield’s watch, that is an unlikely scenario.

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