By Robert O’Reilly
Drogheda United will be aiming to make home advantage count when they host Galway United at United Park on Friday, kick-off 7.45pm.
The Drogs followed up their 2-0 win away to Finn Harps a fortnight ago with a 1-1 draw at home to Sligo Rovers last week.
Drogheda took the lead midway through the first-half via Gareth McCaffrey’s second goal of the season but they were left frustrated by Jonah Ayunga’s equaliser with Drogs boss Pete Mahon ruing his side’s missed chances.
“I think it was our best performance of the season,” Mahon noted. “The only shame about the evening was the result. We came in off the back of a good performance against Finn Harps and started well on Friday.
“We deserved the lead and should’ve made it two or three with the chances we created but it’s something the players can learn from. You have to kill off teams when you’re on top in games.”
With a third of the season completed, Drogheda find themselves seventh in the table with 13 points but Mahon believes that his side will need to maintain that pace throughout if they are to avoid the drop to the First Division.
“The title race I think is affectively over. Cork have such a commanding lead and only Dundalk could feasibly catch them so I think all the interest this season will be in the bottom half of the table.
“Three teams going down means that it’s going to be incredibly tight and we can see that already as we’re only five points off Galway. I think it’ll take between 38-40 points to guarantee survival.”
Galway come into Friday’s clash having picked up their first win in the league last Friday as they defeated Dundalk 2-1 before progressing to the semi-final of the EA Sports Cup during the week with Mahon aware that they are an improving side.
“I think it works in our favour that Galway have broken their duck. We didn’t want them coming here without a win and making it a dog of a game and hopefully both sides will be going for the win on Friday.
“We’ve already beaten them this season and hopefully we can repeat the trick to give us a real platform to work off in the second round of games.”
Drogheda will be without Ryan McEvoy and Colm Deasy through injury but there is positive news with Lloyd Buckley and Jake Hyland available once again.
Thomas Byrne will be available for selection having returned from international duty.