With six players definitely out and another half-dozen doubtful, Finn Harps manager Ollie Horgan is facing a mammoth task in trying to get three points from Friday night's League of Ireland Premier Division game against Drogheda United in Ballybofey (kick-off 8.00).
While the visitors might be two places behind Harps in the table, Horgan points out that Drogheda have already beaten the likes of St. Pat’s and Shamrock Rovers this season.
“Drogheda have a lot of quality in their squad with the likes of Sean Thornton, Ryan McEvoy and the Brennan brothers Killian, Ryan and Sean. And when they click they are well capable of defeating even the likes of Dundalk” Horgan said.
However, the exclusive concentration this week has been on the unprecedented injury list that the Harps boss is dealing with ahead of the Drogheda visit. “We have three more Packie Mailey, Harry Doherty and B.J. Banda definitely out after the injuries they picked up on Monday night. Danny Morrissey, Ciaran O’Connor and Jonny Bonner are all still under treatment for hamstring injuries. And then we have doubts over Paddy McCourt, Barry Molloy, Caolan McAleer, Eddie Dsane, Ciaran Coll and Gareth Harkin. We’ll just have to see tomorrow how those lads are and hopefully some of them can play a part against Drogheda” Horgan said.
Sean Houston and Kilian Cantwell will return to the starting 11 while Simon McGlynn will be in the squad again and U19 keeper Lee McCarron is expected to replace Harry Doherty on the bench. Others who featured on Monday night against Sligo like Gareth Doherty, Dylan McCroary, Keelan McDermott and Ciaran Kelly will be on standby to be part of the match day squad.
Drogheda will be without Sean Brennan who is suspended while Thomas Byrne and Eoghan Dempsey are away on international duty with an Irish U18 squad in Slovakia. Lloyd Buckley and Killian Brennan are out due to injuries. However, Gavin Brennan and Marc Griffin will be available for selection having overcome knocks.
Pete Mahon’s side is heading to Ballybofey in search of only their second away win this season.
Drogheda ended a six-match losing run with a late 2-1 home win over Shamrock Rovers a fortnight ago but last Saturday night it was another defeat on their travels this time at the Markets Field where the hosts Limerick F.C. won 3-0.
Doubtful: Eddie Dsane (back), Paddy McCourt (hip), Barry Molloy (groin), Caolan McAleer (knee), Gareth Harkin (groin), Ciaran Coll (hip)
Injured: Danny Morrissey (hamstring), Ciaran O’Connor (hamstring), Jonny Bonner (hamstring), B.J. Banda (knee), Packie Mailey, Harry Doherty.
RECORD AGAINST DROGHEDA UNITED (All Competitions)
Friday’s game will be the 63rd meeting of the two clubs, and the 32nd to be played in Drogheda.
Total Games: 62 (30 at Finn Park)
Harps Wins: 20 (10 at Finn Park)
Drogheda Wins: 20 (10 at Finn Park)
Draws: 13 (9 at Finn Park)
Harps Goals: 85 (52 at Finn Park)
LAST 10 GAMES v DROGHEDA UNITED
08-Oct-01 Finn Harps 3 Drogheda United 3 First Division
07-Dec-01 Drogheda United 2 Finn Harps 1 First Division
02-Mar-02 Finn Harps 1 Drogheda United 1 First Division
25-Jul-03 Finn Harps 1 Drogheda United 2 FAI Cup
20-May-05 Drogheda United 1 Finn Harps 0 Premier Division
13-Aug-05 Finn Harps 0 Drogheda United 0 Premier Division
11-Nov-05 Drogheda United 2 Finn Harps 0 Premier Division
02-May-08 Drogheda United 1 Finn Harps 0 Premier Division
13-Sep-13 Finn Harps 1 Drogheda United 1 FAI Cup
16-Sep-13 Drogheda United 2 Finn Harps 0 FAI Cup
OUR LAST MEETING WITH DROGHEDA UNITED
16th September 2013. United Park. FAI Cup Quarter Final.
DROGHEDA UNITED 2 (Declan O’Brien 50, Cassidy 90)
FINN HARPS 0
Drogheda United: Michael Schlingermann; Shane Grimes, Derek Prendergast, Paul O'Connor, Alan McNally; Ryan Brennan, Alan Byrne (Eric Foley 74), David Cassidy, Philip Hand; Declan O'Brien, Peter Hynes (Graham Rusk 84). Subs not used: Gabriel Sava (gk), Gavan Holohan, Cathal Brady, Jason Marks.
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher; Damien McNulty, Keith Cowan, Josh Mailey, Thomas McMonagle; Mark Forker (Paul McVeigh 72), Thomas Bonnar (Jordan Duffy 90), Shaun McGowan, Michael Funston (Gary Merritt 84); Pat McCann; Kevin McHugh. Subs not used: Shaun Patton, Lee Toland, Shane McGinty, Jonny Bonner.