BJ Banda - an injury doubt for Friday night's visit of Wexford Youths
Still smarting from an 8-1 home defeat by Drogheda United, Wexford Youths are the visitors to Finn Park in the Ballybofey on Friday night (8pm).
Last Friday night’s heavy loss at Ferrycarrig Park might suggest that Wexford will struggle this season, but Harps boss Ollie Horgan thinks otherwise.
“We went through the exact same thing about 18 months ago ourselves when we got a great result on a Tuesday night in the Brandywell with a last minute equaliser and then three nights later we played Dundalk on the Friday and got hammered 7-0,” he said.
“Wexford went and played Longford on the Saturday night, they played on Tuesday in the cup and went to extra time and penalties against Cobh, and had to go again on Friday against Drogheda. There’s no doubt it took its toll as we have found out ourselves in the past to our cost.”
Horgan watched Wexford in action against both Longford and Cobh and was impressed. He also noted that Harps haven’t got the best of records against Wexford.
“For many seasons before my time there were battles with them and we haven’t come out on the right side of those battles in recent years,” he said.
“Our record is poor against them and it’s something we have to try and put straight on Friday night.
“I watched them against Cobh and the Saturday night previous in Longford when they created a load of goalscoring opportunities. The game in Longford could have been 5-5 had Wexford taken their chances, they could have won it. It ended up that Longford got the first goal and they finished it off in the last couple of minutes.
“They are powerful, they have a lot of decent players. The likes of Chris Kenny and Thomas Croke have played there before in the First Division and the Premier Division. Young Aaron Dobbs has got pace and quality and is on loan out of Shamrock Rovers.
“Remember too, they went to Cabinteely and turned them over 1-0.”
So while Horgan is expected nothing easy tomorrow night, he has also got to prepare for the game without the injured Paddy McCourt and Gareth Harkin while BJ Banda (knee) is also rated extremely doubtful.
With a trip to Drogheda United on Monday night, and two more games the following week (away to Athlone on the Friday and an EA Sports tie in midweek), Horgan’s selection options are far from plenty. Teenager Adam Duffy from Buncrana, who made his debut when he came off the bench in Cobh, might well get another run.
“We didn’t really plan for midweek games in the First Division because there weren’t any in the original schedule,” he said.
“But because the Drogheda game has been refixed and the Longford game will be refixed, it means there will be midweek games in the schedule that we hadn’t planned for or if you like, budgeted for.
“But there are young players who have been training with us. Some of them have done quite well, some of them need to get back to where they were last year and they’ll get game-time on Friday and Monday and indeed the following weekend, but they’ll need to step up to it.”
“Adam Duffy had trained very well with us and played very well with the Ulster Senior League side with Joe Boyle. I watched them three weeks in a row and I thought yeh, this fellow deserves a shot at it and he deserved his opportunity last Friday.”
LISTEN: Ollie Horgan speaking at Tuesday's press conference ahead of Friday night's game.