Finn Harps are back on the road again when they face Waterford United at the Waterford Regional Sports Centre tomorrow night. (kickoff 7.45)
It is another daunting challenge for Harps and their manager Ollie Horgan, who have just two points from their eight games played and are propping up the SSE Airtricity Premier Division table.
Waterford United are sitting in mid table with seven points from their two wins and a draw. They have played six games.
Waterford had no game last weekend but go into tomorrow night’s tie on the back of an impressive 2-0 win over St Patrick’s Athletic at the RSC.
Kenny Browne and Bastian Hery scored the goals for the locals for their first home win of the season.
“They are a serious team. They are in the top half of the table and they are playing in Europe and we face a serious challenge and especially away from home.
“Bastian Hery in the middle of the field is a quality player and centre-half Damian Delaney is a class player too and has been around the block.
“He’s played for West Ham and Bolton Wanderers and he may be getting on but he is still a quality player at league of Ireland level.
“They certainly are two players I wouldn’t mind having week in week out.”
“Home advantage is a huge thing for all teams at this level,” said Ollie Horgan.
“We saw last week that we stayed with Shamrock Rovers last Friday night until the closing ten minutes or so. We are going to have to play really well if we are going to get anything from the game.”
That, by and large, has been the story of Harps season so far and it has been very much a case of being so near and yet so far away.
“We have been so close in most of our games. We find we can bridge the gap at home but we find it more difficult when we go away from home.
“It has been difficult. The lads worked their socks off against Shamrock Rovers but just couldn’t hold on to get something out of the game.
“But we are going to have to keep the heads down and battle on and hope one of these days we get a break.”
Horgan and Harps difficulties haven’t been helped by long term injuries to Gareth Harkin and Mark Timlin.
Harkin and Timlin have been joined in the treatment room this week by Sean Boyd and Harry Ashcroft.
“Sean pulled a hamstring and Harry has a groin problem so neither of them will be travelling. There are a couple of boys carrying knocks but nothing too serious and we will be in the main working with the panel we’ve had last week.
“Gareth is huge loss, he is out for the rest of the season and it is going to be another couple of weeks before Harry is ready to return.”
The prospect of facing Waterford at home in the RSC may be a daunting one. But it is one Horgan and his players are looking forward to.
“I really cannot fault the players for effort and commitment. They tackled like demons last week for 80 minutes and made life very difficult for Shamrock Rovers.
“We will be looking for the same again on Friday night and the plan is to keep it as tight as possible for as long as we can and staying in the game as long as we can.
“If we do that then we would hope to take something out of the game. But we fully accept it is going to be a tall order against a quality side at home.”