Finn Harps will be hoping to end a run of three games without a win when they meet Galway United in the First Division in Ballybofey on Friday night. (kick-off 8pm).
After losing in Drogheda on Monday night and then picking up only a draw at lowly Athlone Town on Friday, Harps played well against Derry City in the League Cup on Monday night, only to lose 2-1.
Harps boss Ollie Horgan will be hoping for a response from his team against a side who are unbeaten in the league, five games into the new season.
Once again, there are injury concerns within the Harps ranks. Paddy McCourt and Ciaran O’Connor were not involved in the match-day squad against Derry and should return tomorrow night.
However, Michael O’Connor came off at half-time on Monday and while Horgan didn’t name-check the striker after the game, he did say that he risked a couple of players that perhaps he shouldn’t have.
“We had to take people off early because they picked up knocks. We risked one or two of them, probably when we shouldn’t have,” he said.
Harps might not have been at full-strength, but they performed impressively against their north west neighbours, especially in the first half during which they scored the opening goal.
“I thought we played well and I thought we were up for the game,” Horgan said.
“We scored from a second phase of a set-piece. It’s just a pity we couldn’t have scored with one of them in Athlone in the same stage of the game. If we did, we might be two points better off in the table than where we are at the moment. It fell for us there and Ciaran Coll’s effort went in off the post.
“In the second half we only created about two half chances. Not that Derry created a huge amount, but to be fair to them, they kept going they had us under pressure. They had probably about 75 per cent possession in the second half. Credit to them, we wish them well in the next round.”
Galway were also on League Cup duty on Monday night, losing out 1-0 at home to Premier Division Sligo Rovers. It was their first defeat of the season, having won three and drawn two of their five league games before that.
“We have a massive game against Galway on Friday now,” he said.
“Galway are a decent footballing side and they are not far off the quality that Derry have.
“So if we are not up for that game, we’ll know all about it with the likes of Danny Furlong, Ryan Connolly who are Premier Division players. We need to be up for that game as we were against Derry.”
The fact that Harps were held in Athlone last weekend means they could really do with a much needed win on Friday night. Horgan said his team created enough chances to take all three points against Athlone.
“It fell for us, the goal against Derry, to put us 1-0 up,” he said.
“It just wouldn’t fall for us in Athlone. We hit posts, we had loads of half chances and we just couldn’t put it away and then found ourselves 1-0 down to a brilliant strike from young Shane Stokes to their credit.
“Friday is huge, we need to get something out of it. We don’t have a very good record against Galway and they’re a full time outfit. They’re going to take some beating.”
Asked if this game presented Harps with their biggest test of the campaign to date, Horgan responded: “They’re all tests. Every game is a test
He added: “Are Galway the best side in it? I don’t know, time will tell.
“UCD are top of the table and they are our next two games. We need to be up and running and have players available for Friday night to get something out of it.”