Harps hoping to halt Sligo surge in SSE Airtricity Premier Division derby in Ballybofey

Finn Harps manager Ollie Horgan Picture: Margaret McLaughlin

SSE Airtricity League Premier Division: Finn Harps v Sligo (Friday, 5.45pm)

FINN Harps will be bidding to prevent league leaders Sligo Rovers from making it five wins on the spin when the sides meet in this evening’s eagerly awaited north-west derby In Ballybofey.

With both teams going so well this season, in normal circumstances such a fixture would command a near full-house at Finn Park.

But with the Covid restrictions still in force, there will be a lack of atmosphere in the ageing stadium.

And that could well favour the visitors, according to Finn Harps boss Ollie Horgan.

“We have picked up more points away from home (this season),” says Horgan.

He’d dearly love to have the backing of the home fans for this game, but acknowledges that “it is what it is.”

Also at the back of Horgan’s mind is a worry about the knock-on effects of having had to make the long trip to Waterford on Monday.

Many of the Harps players were not back home until around 4am following the 2-1 success at the RSC - and several of them, such as goalkeeper Mark Anthony McGinley, had to be up bright and early for a full day’s work on Tuesday.

Sligo were also on the road - and chalked up a superb 1-0 win away to champions Shamrock Rovers to knock them off their perch at the summit. After 33 league games without defeat, the Hoops have now lost two in-a-row.

Sligo will be coming to Ballybofey brimming with confidence and a record this season that has seen them win eight, draw four and only lose once - slipping up at home to a Derry

Harps defender Johnny Dunleavy is a doubt for the Sligo game and a number of players ared nursing niggles.

Fifth-placed Harps are 10 points adrift of their great rivals.

“They have really kicked-on and got better and are the most settled side of all,” Horgan said.

When the sides met earlier this season at the Showgrounds, Sligo won 1-0.

This is the last game before a short early summer break.

Harps will not be back in action again until Friday, June 11th, when they are away to Shamrock Rovers.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access