LEAGUE OF IRELAND

Another key game for Finn Harps as Longford Town come to Ballybofey

New faces to feature on Friday night

Diarmaid Doherty

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Diarmaid Doherty

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Sport@donegaldemocrat.com

Finn Harps v Longford Town preview

Mark Coyle - an injury doubt for Friday's visit of Longford Town.

Finn Harps are still awaiting clearance on one more new signing as they prepare to welcome fellow promotion chasers Longford Town to Finn Park on Friday night.
It’s another key game for the Donegal side who moved ahead of their opponents into fourth spot in the First Division last weekend following their win at Drogheda on Friday night, and Longford’s surprise defeat at home to Cobh Ramblers.
Harps boss Ollie Horgan yesterday confirmed the signing of Jacob Borg, and he’s hoping to have a second player cleared ahead of Friday’s game.
Another new signing, Nathan Boyle, is expected to feature again against Longford, having come off the bench in Friday night’s 1-0 victory at Drogheda.
Boyle’s arrival comes as Horgan confirmed the departure of four first team players, including the O’Connor brothers, Michael and Ciaran.
Michael has rejoined his parent club Shamrock Rovers after his loan spell at Finn Park came to an end on June 30.
Ciaran O’Connor took to social media on Saturday to announce his departure from the club. Horgan said the player is in the process of leaving Harps and the manager wished both brothers well.
Horgan also said that Gareth Doherty’s loan move to Dergview still had to be finalised, but said the midfielder would be signing with the Castlederg club. Eric Whelan has also left the club, and has signed for Dublin Intermediate side Portmarnock FC.
Longford Town come to Ballybofey having beaten Harps 4-2 at Finn Park back in June in a performance that’s still fresh in the mind of the Harps boss
“There were a few impressive performances (by visiting teams) this year in Ballybofey,” Horgan said this week.

"Cobh turned us over, UCD turned us over more recently, but probably even more impressive than UCD was the Longford performance. They scored four against us, and it could have been more.
“If we defend like we defended against them the last time, we’ll get nothing out of it. They’re a very good side with some hugely talented players and they’ll bring with them a huge amount of problems.
“They’re the first team to score four goals against us in Ballybofey since Dundalk did a few years ago. That in itself shows the quality they have.”
Back-to-back wins since the mid-season break - both away from home - have been the perfect response from Harps after an indifferent run of results last month. Horgan also alluded to the fact that his team seem to be doing better on the road than in Ballybofey.
“We have spent a lot of time trying to put our finger on this,” he said, adding that the fans have their part to play too.
“I think we feel there might be a little bit of expectation at home, some of it good, some of it not so good.
“Just because we beat Drogheda by hanging on by a thread up in Drogheda, doesn’t mean you’re going to beat similar quality at home.
“We’ve younger lads who need backing by everybody and especially at home, it brings a bit more pressure on the younger lads that are there.
“There are one or two lads who made mistakes against Longford that probably got a bit of unfair criticism from the home supporters but they dug in to their credit and worked on their confidence and were great up in Drogheda the last night.
“We need everybody on that save wavelength. I have no problem with people giving me abuse and shouting at me - that’s all part of it. But we are trying to protect the younger lads who had setbacks when they were younger in their career, and they are still very young. You can’t over protect them either but we need support there and we need them to be patient.”
It could well be a new-look Harps side that takes to the field for tomorrow night's game.
Nathan Boyle is likely to feature, even though he has been injured of late.
Both Paddy McCourt and Mark Coyle went off injured in Drogheda last Friday night and were to have scans on Tuesday.
“Nathan was cleared just before kick off on Friday night,” Horgan said.
“He has been out injured for quite a while and while he’s injury-free, he isn’t match fit.
“ Please God he’ll be involved to some extent on Friday night but we’ll have to manage it and try and get him back with training sessions and gradually building up his time on the pitch.”
Kick-off is 8pm.