Tony McNamee out as Champions come to Finn Park

Pic Stephen Doherty
Pic Stephen Doherty

Hot on the heels of their last gasp derby draw with Derry City on Tuesday night, Finn Harps are back in action on Friday when back-to-back Champions Dundalk make their first visit to Finn Park since 2007.

Harps go into the game on the back of three successive draws against Wexford Youths, Bohemians and Derry City but Friday's game is without doubt a step up from each of those games.

“Dundalk are the best team in the league and not too many have beaten them home or away in the last couple of years,” said Harps boss Ollie Horgan as he plots his plan ahead of Friday evening's game.

“It is a huge task to play Dundalk if you had a week to prepare for the game, but it makes it even harder with three days. That said, it's the same turnaround for both teams and we'll prepare as best as we can ahead of the game.”

Tony McNamee limped off during the second half of Tuesday's derby with hamstring trouble and will be an absentee on Friday. On top of that, Josh Mailey (groin), Raymond Foy (hamstring), Michael Rafter (ankle), Matthew Crossan (knee) and Gareth Harkin (calf) all remain out for the visit of Stephen Kenny's Champions.

Harps have only played Dundalk once in nine years - the earlier season meeting at Oriel Park where Dundalk ran out 3-0 winners.

Their recent record against the Lilywhites may be a good one - Harps have lost only four times in the last seventeen meetings between the sides - but this is a different Dundalk these days. All of those, aside from the March meeting of the clubs, were in the First Division.

The two sides haven't met in the top flight at Finn Park since May 1999 when Fergal Harkin's goal ended Jim McLaughlin's League of Ireland career with defeat and relegated Dundalk to the First Division for the first time in their history.