Play-Off Final Preview: Finn Harps -v- Drogheda United

Fri, Nov 01 2019

FINN HARPS

It is win or bust for Ollie Horgan’s Finn Harps who know that only a win will do if they are to maintain their Premier Division status for the 2020 campaign (kick-off at Finn Park is at 7.45pm).

Harps trail the tie after a first-leg defeat by a solitary goal, with Drogheda forward Chris Lyons scoring with a late injury time winner at United Park.

However, the tie is still very much alive for the Co. Donegal side, with Harps defender Keith Cowan insisting that to his club’s media team.

“We're very much in it and Finn Park has been a difficult place for many teams to get a result this year we'll hope that’s the same case come Friday night.

“We as a group have to come together and be better and hopefully with the help of the fans create a really great atmosphere and a tough place for Drogheda to come and play.

“It’s important that we get the backing of the whole county to help our cause. The lads in the squad will be doing everything they can to keep us a Premier Division team.

It has been the focus all season we're still in with a good shout of achieving our goal.”

Fellow defender Daniel O’Reilly told extratime.ie; “We’re hoping to have a good crowd behind us and use that to our advantage to really kick on.

“It is a ninety minute game so we need to be wary that Drogheda are very good going forward and we don’t have to win the game in the first half an hour, even the first-half so we’ll have a gameplan going in and hopefully it will work and we can celebrating on Friday.

It would be brilliant for the club (to survive). They do everything right on and off the pitch. There’s a lot of Dublin teams in the league at the minute so to have that balance.

“I know people don’t like that travelling – but I think it just balances out the league and keeps that competitiveness. I think that would maintain that status.”

In terms of team news for Horgan’s side, Ciaran Gallagher is out with injury, while Mark Timlin is rated as doubtful ahead of Friday’s showdown.  

DROGHEDA UNITED

Drogheda United are just ninety minutes away from making their Premier Division return should they avoid defeat away to Finn Harps in the second leg of their promotion/relegation playoff final.

Chris Lyons has given Tim Clancy’s side a slender one-nil lead heading into this evening’s clash, with the Drogs inching their way to a top-flight return.

However, their biggest test of the season awaits in Co. Donegal, with manager Clancy insisting that his side must match the effort of Monday evening to stand

"If we are anyway below the effort level, the energy, the application, the attitude we had tonight we’re going to find it very hard on Friday," Clancy told the Meath Chronicle.

"I’m hoping we can play better. There was very little in the game. We’ve operated at a lower level this season; it’s going to be difficult.

"Scoring late on is always an ecstatic feeling, we battled really well. It’s given us a small leg up.”

Jake Hyland is Drogheda’s only doubt for the trip up to Donegal, with no other suspension or injury concerns expected for the Boynesiders.

Referee: Neil Doyle.

 

MATCH STATS

No side from the Premier Division since 2013 have stayed up in a promotion/relegation playoff final. The last side to do it was Bray Wanderers who defeated Longford Town.

Finn Harps are unbeaten against Drogheda United at Finn Park in their previous two encounters. The Boynesiders last win at the Co. Donegal venue came in October 2017.

Harps have only conceded twice at home in their previous three games in Ballybofey. All of those goals came in the 2-1 defeat at home to St Patrick’s Athletic in September.   

BETTING

Finn Harps EVS; Draw 23/10; Drogheda United 23/10.

PREDICTION

Finn Harps 2 - 1 Drogheda United (Finn Harps on penalties)

 

Finn Harps

Injured: Ciaran Gallagher.

Doubtful: Mark Timlin.

Suspended: None.

 

Drogheda United

Injured: None.

Doubtful: Jake Hyland.

Suspended: None.