Finn Harps will be hoping to put last Sunday’s 1-0 reversal at UCD behind them as they prepare for the visit of Athlone Town to Finn Park on Friday evening (kick-off 8.00pm).
Despite the defeat to the students, Harps held on to their one point advantage at the top of the table – thanks in no small part to Wexford Youths 3-1 defeat at the hands of Friday’s visitors to Finn Park on Friday last.
That, coupled with the fact that Athlone beat Harps when the two sides last met, is a warning to Ollie Horgan and his side that they won’t have it all their own way against the midlanders at Finn Park on Friday.
“Athlone have already beaten us and had another very good win against Wexford last time out, playing most of the game with 10 men,” said Horgan ahead of this weekend’s game.
“Aiden Friel has been very impressive for them and they have very talented young lads in Gavin Boyne, Patrick Dunican and Sam O’Connor added to the experience Philip Gorman, Aiden Collins and Brian Shorthall,” he warned.
With only two games remaining in the third quarter of the campaign, Horgan said it’s difficult to predict how things will pan out over the remaining weeks of the season.
“I genuinely haven't a clue what way the remainder of the season will go for us or indeed for any of the other sides,” he said. “We need to improve to stay in with a chance of staying high up the table.”
Thomas McMonagle will sit the game out through suspension as a result of his red card at UCD last time out. Packie Mailey is a doubt while Keith Cowan is unavailable.
Since beating Harps last month, Athlone have won just twice in their six outings since then – against Waterford United at the RSC and last weekend against second in the table Wexford Youths at Lissywollen.
The last seven games between these two sides have resulted in victories for the team playing at home in all but one of those games. Ollie Horgan and Finn Harps will be hoping that trend continues at Finn Park on Friday evening.