Harps will be looking to make it two wins from two against their First Division promotion rivals when they play host to Longford Town at Finn Park on Friday evening (kick-off 8pm).
After securing a dramatic last gasp win at United Park last week despite being under the cosh for the majority of play, John O’Flynn popped up with the all-important strike just minutes from the end.
That result saw Harps climb their way back into the promotion spots ahead of tonight’s opponents Longford Town who fell to a disappointing 2-1 home defeat against Cobh Ramblers at the City Calling Stadium.
Speaking ahead of the game with his club’s official media at a pre-game press briefing, Harps boss Ollie Horgan noted that he is expecting a very tough home encounter against Neale Fenn’s Longford. Town have troubled his side in the two games so far this season.
“Longford are probably the best side in the way they pass the ball with very good movement, that we come up against this season. They won’t fear us and will definitely be coming to Finn Park looking to win the game.
“Dylan McGlade, Sam Verdon and Chris Mulhall know the League of Ireland scene well and there are plenty of other talented players who will make it very difficult for us. So we need to be focused from the start and not allow Longford to dictate the game.”
With their previous defeat against Longford still fresh in the memory, Horgan is looking for a reaction from his side come Friday evening in Ballybofey.
“When we played Longford here on the Bank Holiday Monday, the performance in terms of our defending was not good enough.
“We were 2-0 down at half-time but in fairness Paddy McCourt’s penalty and Mikey Place’s equaliser gave us an opportunity to go on and win it.
“Instead they went up the field and scored again and then Dylan McGlade got a fourth to make sure that we wouldn’t even get a draw out of it.”
In terms of team news for this evening’s game, Harps defender Tommy McBride makes his return to the fold following suspension while new signing Jacob Borg is in line to make his debut for the club after signing in recent days.
On the other hand, the Donegal side will have to make do without the services of Paddy McCourt, Mark Coyle and Adam Duffy for the home clash against Longford with injury issues.
After failing to take advantage of slip ups at the top of the First Division table last weekend, Longford Town will be out to right the wrongs of last weekend’s disappointment at home to Cobh Ramblers with a win over Finn Harps up in County Donegal for the second time in a row.
Last time these sides met against each other, Longford came out on top in a six-goal thriller at Finn Park by four goals to two. Dylan McGlade, Aodh Dervin and Sam Verdon all scored for De Town as they made a serious statement of intent at the top of the pile in the First Division.
Since then, the Red and Black of the Midlands have gone on to beat UCD and Drogheda United before falling to defeat against Cobh last time out.
Should Neale Fenn’s young guns grab those all important three points on Friday evening, they will leapfrog Harps into fourth place with only seven games left of the First Division season.
In theory, Longford could go as high as third but that scenario would require Drogheda failing to win at Tolka Park at the same time.
In terms of team news, Longford Town will be able to call upon all of their new signings which include Jamie Doyle, Dean Dillon, Warren Mitchell, Craig Walsh and Ben Kelly.
Walsh is the most recent signing for the club having departed the crisis club that is Bray Wanderers earlier on this week after the off the field financial issues plagued the club in recent weeks.
However, the quartet of Alan Kehoe, Peter Hopkins, Cian Byrne and Dean Byrne all miss out via injury problems.
In other news, Sam Verdon misses out with a suspension picked up in the most recent five-one win away to UCD at the Belfield Bowl.
The away side has come out on top in the last four games between these pair of First Division rivals. The last home victory came for Finn Harps all the way back in 2016 when current Ballinamallard striker Ryan Curran slotted home a 57thminute spot-kick for Harps at Finn Park.
Each time Longford have fallen to a defeat in a competitive game, they have bounced back with a win in their next league game. These feats have been achieved against the likes of Athlone Town, Drogheda United, Shelbourne, Shamrock Rovers and Wexford FC to date.
In their last five league games, Longford Town have the best goal-scoring record in the division with 11 goals to their name. On the other hand, Finn Harps have scored seven in their previous five.
Finn Harps 21/10; Draw 11/5; Longford Town 11/10.
Finn Harps 1-1 Longford Town
Injured: Paddy McCourt, Mark Coyle, Adam Duffy.
Injured: Alan Kehoe, Peter Hopkins, Cian Byrne and Dean Byrne.
Suspended: Sam Verdon.