Finn Harps will have to “go positive” in their quest for badly needed points during the rest of the campaign, manager Ollie Horgan has declared.
The Donegal side travels to the RSC to face Waterford tomorrow evening (Friday) knowing full well that they cannot afford to slip further behind a rejuvenated UCD who are three points ahead of them with a game in hand.
But the Ballybofey-based club will be without leading striker Nathan Boyle and his absence, Horgan remarked, will be “a massive blow” while the versatile Jacob Borg is rated as doubtful.
Waterford, after punching above their weight last season, have had a disappointing campaign this time around and lie third bottom.
But Horgan is quick to point out that the Blues remain a quality side who, on their day, can be a match for anyone in the league.
Indeed, he watched them earn a scoreless draw against Sligo Rovers at the Showgrounds last Saturday (their first point after three straight defeats), and he still rates them highly.
The Munster side may have lost French playmaker Bastien Hery to Linfield, but part of the deal has seen Michael O’Connor - who had a spell with Harps under Horgan - moving the other way.
Waterford have also added Republic of Ireland underage international Tom Holland who was on the books of Manchester City and Swansea before playing a couple of seasons in the Welsh Premier League.
“They are both good players,” Horgan noted.
Meanwhile, what a difference a month can make. Back in June it looked as if Harps were better placed than UCD to avoid ending up in the bottom spot which means automatic relegation.
But UCD, having lost 11 league games on the spin, have now collected seven points from nine with home 1-0 wins over Harps and Bohemians and a scoreless draw against Derry City.
Commenting on UCD’s revival, Horgan said: “They had the month of June off. They are full of energy and running. They ran their luck in Derry but they were like bees around the Derry players. They have energy and youth and it shows.”
Meanwhile, Horgan is continuing to trawl the country in an effort to boost his squad.
He remains hopeful that international clearance and the necessary paperwork will come through for a 6’ 4” central defender, who had been playing in Germany.
While the latter may not figure against Waterford, he could yet sample a north-west derby on Friday week when Harps host Derry City.
Horgan has also been in talks with a number of other players, but nobody else has yet been added to the squad.
John Kavanagh, who was a very popular player with Harps during his two loan spells, has signed for Waterford, and is expected to be in their panel for the game against Horgan’s charges.
It is understood that some personal and work related matters were a factor in Kavanagh opting for what is his second stint on loan from Cork City to Waterford.
Harps, who beat Waterford 3-2 at Finn Park back in May, have yet to win away from home in the Airtricity League Premier Division this season.
So what better tonic could there be for their currently plight than collecting the maximum points away to Waterford tomorrow.
Such a result would be a massive boost, but even a point would represent a good return.
Kick-off at the RSC is 7.45 pm.