Finn Harps need fans behind them against Sligo Rovers

Finn Harps will not play at home again until July 8 
Chris Ashmore

COME out in numbers and back Ollie Horgan’s side - that’s the message from Finn Harps as the Donegal club take on Sligo Rovers on Friday in what will be their last home game for five weeks.

Harps began the season in style with a 2-1 win over Derry City before a capacity crowd but, in recent weeks, attendances have fallen off. With the break for Euro 2016, Harps out of the FAI Cup and their next league game after this weekend away to Longford Town, Harps are not back in action at Finn Park until July 8, when they host Galway United.

The fine weather and Sligo’s pick-up in form should, fortunately, help to swell the attendance. Rovers come on the back of a fine run which has seen them win five out of their last six games to catapult them up the league ladder.

And the way they are playing at the moment, they can still harbour ambitions of European football next season and maybe even FAI Cup success. Harps managed to earn a point away to Shamrock Rovers last weekend, ending a run of three defeats. It was the Tallaght side’s first draw of the league campaign.

“It was a point gained from our point of view,” said Horgan.

Interestingly, he added: “The target is accumulating enough points to get into the play-off spot [for finishing second bottom] and that point is one closer to that.”

Harps are currently six points ahead of that position, so are ahead of schedule at this stage of the season. Sligo’s away form has been quite good, with victories in Derry and Galway, and Horgan knows they will be looking for all three points.

“Sligo should have been out of sight by half-time the last time we played them, but we managed to get back into the game in the second-half and were able to secure a good point,” he recalled.

“Our support was brilliant that night, we’d love to see a repeat of that sort of atmosphere from our fans for this one. Sligo are in great form - they’ve strung together a number of wins and are playing good football. They have some very talented players in their ranks and it’ll be another tough game, but we will prepare as well as possible and do everything we can to get a result,” he said.

In that game earlier this season Sligo had gone ahead through a Chris Lyons goal on 10 minutes, only to see their lead cancelled out by a stunning Damien McNulty strike in the 83rd minute. The game ended early due to floodlight failure and league authorities later confirmed the result would stand. McNulty is ruled out of this encounter through suspension. 

This is the 113th meeting between the two clubs with Harps holding the upper hand with 45 wins. However, their last league success over the Bit o’ Red was in a First Division game back in 2004 that Harps won 1-0.

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