Football/Soccer

Horgan admits Harps need to lift themselves from concerning slump

 The season may not even be at the halfway point but for Finn Harps manager Ollie Horgan his worst fears are already being realised.

SSE Airtricity League Premier Division: Finn Harps v Dundalk (tonight, 8pm)

THE season may not even be at the halfway point but for Finn Harps manager Ollie Horgan his worst fears are already being realised.

At the start of the campaign, he spoke about his biggest challenge yet and having lost a dozen players from the 2021 panel, he had a major task in rebuilding his side.

Back-to-back defeats against UCD, the bottom club, and Drogheda, the side above them who came from behind to beat the Donegal side 3-1 on Friday, have naturally prompted real concerns.

Harps have won just once in their last 10 games - and their next two matches are against in-form third-placed Dundalk this evening at Finn Park, and then away to second placed Derry City on Friday.

“Dundalk are flying at the moment and will be full of confidence after their win over Derry City on Friday,” Ollie Horgan told FinnHarps.ie

He continued: “The result in Drogheda was tough to take given the position we were in but we can’t feel sorry for ourselves.”

He stressed that there “is still plenty of football to be played” and he needs “everyone focused on putting in a big shift” against Dundalk.

“We’ll need our supporters in the ground to give us that extra lift when we need it, as they have time and again over the years,” he added.

Horgan has injury concerns regarding midfielders Elie-Gael N’Zeyi and Barry McNamee ahead of this evening’s game while Bastien Héry misses out through suspension, having been sent off in Drogheda. Dundalk come to Ballybofey having won four and drawn one of their last five games.

The defeat at Head in the Game Park leaves Harps in the relegation play-off spot. Of particular concern is the fact that they are now six points adrift of Drogheda.

Horgan knows that it is vital that they don’t find themselves being cut-off along with UCD.

The Drogheda set-back was hard to swallow as Harps had the better of things in the first-half, took the lead through Conor Tourish on 47 minutes, and then had a numerical advantage after Sean Roughan was sent off for the home side in the 65th minute.

However, the Boynesiders then really stepped up their game, and equalised through Evan Weir in the 69th minute.

They then missed several chances before former Harps striker Adam Foley, on as a substitute, made it 2-1 in the 90th minute.

That goal came after Harps’s plea for a penalty for a challenge on Jesse Devers was dismissed.

In a tense six minutes of additional time, Hery saw red after lashing out at Ryan Brennan before Darragh Nugent added a third for Drogheda.

But Horgan acknowledged that Drogheda “had probably shaded it” and his side had not managed the game sufficiently after going ahead and then having an extra man until stoppage time.

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