Brian Dorrian insists Friday night’s game has taken on added importance after Finn Harps’ two wins last week moved them ahead of Sligo Rovers in the Premier Division.
The Killybegs man, who is first team coach and manager of the U-19s at the Showgrounds, said Harps will go into the match with plenty of confidence.
“Harps had two great wins against St. Pat’s and Limerick and they’re going well,” he said.
“It’s a north west derby and they are always big games and this one will be no different.
“We got a draw away to Bray Wanderers last Friday and picked up a point at St. Pat’s too. We played well against Cork but lost that game, so we could do with a good result at home.”
Dorrian said the arrival of new Sligo Rovers manager Gerard Lyttle who took over from Dave Robertson has given everyone in the first team squad a lift.
The former Cliftonville man kept the rest of the management team in place at Sligo - meaning another Donegal man, Declan McIntyre, has remained on as assistant manager.
“It’s been great since Gerard came in,” Dorrian added. “The fitness levels have definitely lifted. The players are working hard and the fact that the transfer window is coming up, they are are probably keen to put in a bit more effort.”
Lyttle inherited a squad blessed with plenty of Donegal interest with Liam Martin (Donegal town), Kyle Callan McFadden (Ramelton) and goalkeeper Shaun Patton (Letterkenny) all involved.
Two members of Dorrian’s U-19 squad - goalkeeper Ed McGinty (Ballyshannon) and Jack Keaney (Donegal town) are also enjoying a good season. Keaney has already featured for the first team and made his debut in Sligo’s EA Sports League Cup victory away to Harps back in April.
Dorrian is also manager of the Donegal League’s Oscar Traynor side and said he has agreed to stay on for the 2017/18 competition.
“We’d a disappointment campaign last season,” he said.
“We did so well the year before but at times, it’s not easy. We aren’t helped by the fact that so many of the county’s better players are playing in the Ulster Senior League. Other counties don’t have that problem because there are only so many Intermediate leagues.
“But we have good players in the Donegal League and we showed when we got to the semi-final what can be achieved.
“Look at the Clare League last Sunday. They beat Inishowen to win the competition for the second season in a row. That’s a team coming out of a hurling stronghold that has won it twice in two years.”