One of the biggest clubs in League of Ireland football Shamrock Rovers are the visitors to Ballybofey on this Friday night (kick-off 8.00) as Finn Harps aim to dig deep to apply the brakes on a potential slide into the relegation zone.
There is so much at stake for both sides on Friday night with the Hoops still very much in contention for European football next season.
The contrasting positions in the table should make this an intriguing contest for the big crowd that is expected at Finn Park.
While the Hoops are a top Premier team, Ollie Horgan is looking forward to a match that is sure to draw a big crowd to the Twin Towns venue. “It’s another big game for us on and they don't get much bigger than Shamrock Rovers. Under their new manager Stephen Bradley they are on a very good run at the moment, unlike ourselves”, Horgan said.
The Harps boss wants the home support to be vocal and get behind the team as the players attempt to stop the recent dismal run of results. “Shamrock Rovers are fighting for a European spot and we’re fighting to avoid relegation so it’s a huge match for both teams and hopefully with our supporters pushing us on we can get a result that will get us back on track to stay in the Premier Division.”
In team news Damian McNulty remains out long term with a knee problem but Gareth Harkin is nearing full fitness although he is still considered doubtful for the Shamrock Rovers visit. The manager also has concerns over Josh Mailey, Dave Scully and Ciaran Coll.
With no game last weekend management and the players have been working hard in training to ensure that a game plan is in place that will hopefully get a result that will end the recent four successive defeats.
The manager will be hoping that the team gets the appetite and intensity back into their game as an element of fatigue appears to have been issue in the last month for the part-time squad.
The Harps record this season against the Hoops includes a narrow 1-0 defeat in Ballybofey in early March when Gary McCabe converted a 70th minute penalty. The two teams then drew at the Tallaght Stadium at the end of May. Gary Shaw had given the Hoops an eighth minute lead but Dave Scully equalized for the visitors early in the second half. Shamrock Rovers did play the closing stages with 10 men following the dismissal of McCabe.