Thursday 18 January 2018

Connor aims to secure Galway survival

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Bray Wanderers travel west this evening knowing victory over Galway United can complete their incredible voyage of Airtricity League Premier Division survival.

At one stage, the Seagulls were 11 points adrift of Drogheda United but, after Pat Devlin replaced Eddie Gormley, the returned manager has performed a minor miracle in charge to finish second from bottom.

The Wicklow side have capitalised on Drogheda's wretched run of form to overtake them and ensure the lifeline of a promotion/relegation play-off.

That begins this evening against Sean Connor's Galway, who have been balancing their slim resources all season, producing some stunning results among a campaign of ordinary performances. The Belfast man knows this match is a huge one for the club and wants to avoid having to face the winners of the First Division play-off, between Waterford United and Monaghan.

"There has been lots of fight in the team but we have lacked the depth to compete," Connor said. "Operating off such a small squad, the players will invariably hit a wee bit of bad form and we can't change it.

"We've taken a lot of flak for our run of form, but it coincided with Barry Ryan, Kieran Foley, Stephen O'Donnell and others, who have been key players all season, being out.

"We should be at close to our best on Tuesday and it should be enough. All we need to do is make sure we are a Premier Division club."

Danny O'Connor returns for Bray, who are without Derek Prendergast (ankle), Sean Houston (cruciate) and John Mulroy (hamstring).

Ciaran Foley misses out for Galway but Jamie McKenzie, Gary Curran, Paul Sinnott and Jason Molloy should all return after knocks.

Waterford's second-half comeback against Shelbourne on Friday earned them a play-off spot against Monaghan at the RSC this evening.

Striker Vinny Sullivan remains out for Waterford, who otherwise have a full squad to choose from. Monaghan boss Mick Cooke welcomes Sean Brennan back from suspension, but Karl Bermingham is out injured.

The hosts come into the game on a run of four wins in a row, in contrast to Monaghan who have not won in three.

Galway side Salthill Devon travel to St Colman's Park in Cobh in a bid to preserve their league status against the winners of the 'A' Championship. The visitors have not won a match since July and have two legs to prevent a return to Division 1 for Ramblers.

Irish Independent

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