Caolan McAleer in action for Finn Harps against UCD when the sides met at Finn Park earlier this season. PICTURE: STEPHEN DOHERTY
Finn Harps manager Ollie Horgan has described this Friday night’s relegation battle at the Belfield Bowl as his team’s most important game of the season so far.
“But we’d love to be involved in a few more important games between now and the end of the season,” he pointed out.
Harps play relegation rivals UCD in the proverbial six-pointer as the quest for Premier Division survival enters another key weekend.
The Donegal side are four points clear of the Dubliners who have played three games less.
However, given that UCD’s 5-1 defeat at Sligo Rovers was their 11th on the bounce in the league, the pressure is mounting on the basement side.
Mark Anthony McGinley will face his former club UCD on Friday night
A win or a draw for Harps tomorrow night would be seen as a decent result but not surprisingly Horgan is predicting another difficult test.
“At this stage, we’ll take a draw with open arms,” he said.
“But the last time we went up there we’d have taken a draw. At half-time we were looking comfortable but in the second half they blew us apart. It was the biggest hiding we got and I’m including the game against Dundalk and the game against Waterford where we lost 4-0, albeit against ten men.”
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And while UCD may have lost a string of first choice players to transfers over the past ten days, Horgan refuses to accept the argument that they will be less well off in terms of quality.
“They’re excellent footballers at UCD and the scholarship scheme that Diarmuid McNally runs up there, he’ll have a couple of top quality young lads in there for Friday and they’ll be a hugely difficult task for us,” he said.
“UCD have three games in hand and if they turn us over, and they turned us over comfortably up there the last time, then it’s open season again and maybe advantage to them again.
“We know we have a poor record up there. They are very good at home in particular. Belfield is a huge pitch and we struggled to get around the pitch against Cork in Ballybofey so Friday will be very difficult for us.”
Friday's game kicks off at 7.45pm.