Jonny Bonner and Caolan McAleer in line for return

Finn Harps face crucial clash with Derry City

Diarmaid Doherty


Diarmaid Doherty



Harps v Derry

BJ Banda celebrates his goal against Derry City at Maginn Park back in April. Photo: Stephen Doheryt.

After recording a first ever away league victory over Derry City at Maginn Park back in April, Finn Harps could really do with a similar result when the sides meet again in Buncrana on Friday night.
Ollie Horgan’s side find themselves in a perilous position with just three games left in their season.
They remain second from bottom, and significantly they are five points away from safety which means they probably need to win their next two games against Derry and Drogheda United at home, to have a chance of staying up before their final game at Bohs.
Horgan knows his team face a massive task, but he insists it’s not beyond them.
“I’d love it if we’re going to Dublin with a chance of staying up when we play Bohemians,” he said.
“I’d really love it. We’re already written off by many in the league and when you look at the table, you can see why. But it’s not gone yet, far from it. Although, we have to take something from the game on Friday night, that’s definite.”
Horgan suggested after Saturday night’s defeat at home to Dundalk that the injuries sustained by Ethan Boyle and Paddy McCourt might mean they wouldn’t play again this season.
“It’s looking like it,” Horgan said yesterday.
“Ethan hurt his hamstring and you saw Paddy, he’d to come off after 56 minutes. He can’t put any weight on his leg, and could hardly walk this week.
“The two of them are out and when you add in Packie Mailey too, it’s not great. There are a few others there carrying knocks and we’ll have to see how we’re fixed before Friday.”
Horgan does have options within the squad, but not too many. Jonny Bonner is likely to play from the start having had to be content with a place on the bench for many of the recent games.

Ironically Bonner did play from the start when Harps defeated Derry City 2-0 in Buncrana back in April, but injured his hamstring early in the contest and was replaced by BJ Banda. The teenager’s introduction proved a masterstroke by Horgan. Banda put Harps in front in first half injury time and also played a big part in the second goal scored by Michael Funston ten minutes from the end.
Funston, has of course, since departed Finn Park, but Banda could well play a part at some stage on Friday night as Harps search for a much-needed win.
Caolan McAleer, who came off the bench against Dundalk, is almost certain to start while Shane Blaney is an option in defence as Horgan considers how to replace Ethan Boyle at right back.

Away end tickets for Friday's game are on sale today (Thursday) at the Harps club office from 10am to 5pm.
Tickets are priced: Adults €12 or Concession €10 (Senior Citizen, Student). Children under 12 are admitted free ONLY if accompanied by an Adult.