Finn Harps are winless after 15 league games so far and will go in search of their first three points of the season when they welcome UCD to Finn Park on Friday (kick-off 8pm).
The first meeting between these sides earlier in the season saw UCD run out comfortable 3-0 winners at Belfield, one of just three league wins so far for UCD.
Just six points separate the sides in ninth and tenth position but, speaking to the media ahead of the game, Harps manager Ollie Horgan said he’s expecting a tough match when the Students come to town.
“We really need to be up for this one,” said Horgan.
“UCD have some fantastic players who will punish us if we are not at the top of our game. Gary O’Neill, Neil Farrugia and Yoyo Mahdy are excellent footballers and there’s more than them, so we’ll have our work cut out to get three points tomorrow night.
“You saw what they done to us in Belfield so we’ll need to be a hell of a lot better to get a win here at Finn Park.
“They lost to Sligo last Friday night at Belfield and that’s another reason Collie O’Neill will want to get his team back to winning ways quickly.”
Finn Harps will take confidence from a hard fought 1-1 draw against Cork City at Turners Cross on Monday evening and a win against UCD will see them cut the gap to just three points.
“Physically and mentally the lads are feeling it this week.” spoke Horgan after the result against Cork.
“They put in a big shift at Turners Cross and then sat on a bus for a very long trip back from Cork. It was around 6 a.m. on Tuesday morning when we got back home to bed.
“Most of the lads were then getting up for a day’s work. They have recovered as best they can, bearing in mind that it is a part-time setup here.
“We just have to get the balance right tomorrow night in trying to get the three points and at the same time make sure we are as tight as we can be defensively.”
UCD travel to Finn Harps looking for their first win in seven games and knowing that a win would put further distance between themselves and Finn Harps at the bottom of the table.
They suffered a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Sligo Rovers earlier this week and will be looking to respond with three points from their meeting with Finn Harps this evening.
They have lost six from six in terms of league games on the road so far this season scoring just two goals in those six away games and conceding a total of fourteen.
Just six points separate themselves and tomorrow evening’s opponents and a win here for Collie O’Neill’s side would open up a healthy nine point gap to the automatic relegation spot.
“After losing [against Sligo] it becomes an even bigger one on Friday, making sure we don’t leave too much of a gap to Sligo and Cork ahead of us,” O’Neill told extratime.ie.
“It’s a good point for them [in Cork] – two points in two games they’re after picking up and it’s a bit of momentum. It ain’t gonna be easy.”
Evan Osam remains a long-term absentee but UCD have an otherwise full squad to choose from.
Referee: Neil Doyle
Finn Harps are without a win after fifteen league games this season but a win against UCD will close the gap between the sides to just three points.
UCD are yet to pick up an away points this season losing six league games from six on their travels.
Finn Harps 6/4; Draw 23/10; UCD 13/8
Finn Harps 1 – 2 UCD
Injured: Ciaran Gallagher, Gareth Harkin, Mark Timlin.
Injured: Evan Osam.