Wexford Youths and Finn Harps both gained promotion from the First Division last season, and the two sides will meet for the first time in the top flight at Ferrycarrig Park on Friday evening.
Harps will be happy with their start to their campaign and currently sit in a mid-table position with ten points from their opening nine games. While Wexford currently sit just one place off bottom spot, they are only five points behind Harps and will see this as an ideal opportunity to close the gap to just a couple of points.
Wexford will be buoyed by the news that Harps boss Ollie Horgan has a mounting injury list with no fewer than eight players already ruled out through injury and suspension while two players are struggling to shake off knocks picked up.
Dave Scully (suspended) Barry Molloy (hamstring), Josh Mailey (groin), Keith Cowan (groin), Kevin McHugh (groin), Richard Brush (groin), Raymond Foy (hamstring) and Michael Rafter (ankle) are all definite absentees while doubts hang over Damien McNulty and Matthew Crossan who are both carrying knocks.
“Wexford have finished ahead of us in the First Division in the last four seasons and deservedly so,” said Horgan as he looked ahead to a second trip to the South Coast in the space of seven days.
“They won the First Division last year with a mixture of great football with strength and speed,” he continued.
“They have added the likes of a very talented Paul Murphy and Danny Ledwith as well as Aiden Friel who was one of the best players in the First Division last year. We will, as always, have our work cut out to stay with Wexford,” he said.
Harps go into the game on the back of a 3-1 defeat in Cork last Friday and while Horgan has no complaints about the result of the game, he is still lamenting the loss of key players through injury in the game.
“The Cork game was disappointing in that we were two goals down and two players went off injured very early in the game,” he said. “We have no complaints about the result as Cork ran out worthy winners.”
One piece of good news for Harps is that Danny Furlong, so often a thorn in the side of Harps, is suspended for Wexford Youths. Furlong has scored six of Wexford’s last nine goals against Harps.
Goals are almost a guarantee in this fixture. In the 31 previous meetings, there have been 81 goals shared between the sides and there has only ever been one scoreless draw – that coming three years ago at Finn Park.
The four meetings between the sides last season were evenly shared out with both clubs winning two games apiece – each with one home and one away victory to their names.