Harps' new signing Joshua Smith will figure against Derry

Harps' new signing Joshua Smith will figure against Derry

Finn Harps’ newest signing is set to make his debut in Friday’s big north-west derby against Derry City at Finn Park.

American Joshua Smith (27) was previously with SC Hessen Dreieich who played in Germany’s fourth tier.

A towering 6’4” centre-half, Horgan will be hoping that the new arrival can help bolster the Harps defence as the Donegal club battles to avoid relegation from the Airtricity League Premier Division.

“Josh has basically been out of the game for the past seven months through injury,” Horgan disclosed. “He is now injury free and is fully fit. He is in good nick, but is probably lacking match fitness. He will be available on Friday and he will play a part.”

From the player’s perspective, this is an opportunity to get back into the game and resurrect his career.

Derry thumped Harps 4-0 at the Brandywell when the sides last met in the league and come to Ballybofey on the back of an eight game unbeaten run.

Horgan believes that City are now a better side. “They have added to their team, they have a lot of quality. We are quite aware of what we are going into on Friday. If we are not right we will get steamrolled.”

He continued: “We are hoping that we will be right and they won’t be for some reason or another. Then we will see what happens. But they are a handful and are up at the top of the league for a reason.”

Harps must also plan without the continued absence of striker Nathan Boyle which is a big blow.

Mikey Place, who got the winner against Waterford last week, is expected to start and Horgan will be hoping that the pacey youngster can do the business.

With games running out, Horgan told the Democrat: “We would take a point from any game, absolutely. The points are hard to get but we have to approach each game and see if we can get something no matter how duanting the task is.”

This is the 70th competitive meeting between the two great rivals, and Harps fans won’t need to much reminding about the club’s dreadful record against their neighbours.

In fact, Harps have won only seven competitive games against the Candystripes, and only three times in the league.

But two of those league successes were under Ollie Horgan, on the opening day of the 2016 campaign and at Maginn Park in April 2017.

And when the sides met in Ballybofey back in April, City sneaked away with a 3-2 success.

Horgan will have little job in motivating his players for this one.

Kick-off at Finn Park is 7.45 pm.