After being knocked out of the EA Sports Cup during the week to Premier Division side Dundalk, it is back to the bread and butter of the league for Longford Town.
Although they were disappointed to lose on Tuesday night the main focus for the Town is the league and maintaining their fantastic start to the season; they are unbeaten in the league and have picked up five wins from six games.
Last weekend’s result away to Limerick has boosted the Town’s confidence but they know that Harps will provide a stiff test for
them. The Town defeated them in all three league meetings last season but those games were just decided by a goal.
For this game the Town are still without Niall O’Reilly while a few more have joined the injury list; Austin Skelly, Graham Dowling and James O’Brien. Des Hope is rated 50/50.
Town player/coach Gary Cronin is well aware of what to expect from Harps. “I’ve played in this league a long time and anytime I’ve played Finn Harps it has never been an easy one. Last season was the best season I had against them. This season they’ve done ok and any team playing Longford Town will want to take points off us because we are playing so well. We just need to make sure we play the way we can play, that we’re professional and have a good attitude going into the game.”
Finn Harps will be looking to make it three wins out of three when they travel to Flancare Park to take on the Town.
After an inconsistent start to the season Harps have settled in recent weeks and have recorded victories over Waterford Utd and SD Galway. Although they lost to local rivals Derry City in the EA Sports Cup on Monday last.
With goalkeeper Ciaran Gallagher sidelined for one month and 16 year-old Shaun Patton the only recognised keeper available, Harps have signed former Derry City keeper Rory Kelly. He will be included in the squad for the trip to the Midlands. Keith Cowan and Stephen O’Donnell remain out.
Director of Football Felix Healy is confident his side can inflict a first league defeat on the Town. “Longford will be full of confidence, which comes from being top of the table but if we play as well as we can then we are very capable of claiming all three points.”
Referee: Keith Callanan.
Longford Town’s record league victory is 6-1 and they achieved this twice; against Finn Harps and Cobh Ramblers.
The two sides met five times last season; three times in the league and then in the FAI Cup where the game went to a replay. The Town had the upper hand recording four victories.
Harps have just picked up one point on their recent visits to Flancare Park; that came in May 2009.
Odds: Longford Town 1/2; Draw 11/4; Finn Harps 5/1.
Longford Town to win 2-1.
Longford Town Injury News: Austin Skelly, Niall O’Reilly, Des Hope (50/50), Graham Dowling, James O’Brien.
Finn Harps Injury News: Ciaran Gallagher, Keith Cowan, Stephen O’Donnell.