Finn Harps make the trip to league leaders Longford Town on Saturday evening (kick-off 7.30pm) hoping to extend their six game unbeaten run and keep their play-off hopes alive as the season gets ready to enter the final quarter.
Harps go into Saturday’s game on the back of run that has seen them lose just once in their last twelve games – that solitary defeat coming against Saturday’s opponents last June in Finn Park.
However, that run has seen seven draws and it’s those draws that see them remain seven points behind Galway who sit in the final play-off position in third place.
After leading twice last week against Wexford Youths, Harps ended the game once again with just a point to show for their efforts and blew a glorious chance to go 3-1 in front when Kevin McHugh missed a penalty with less than a quarter of the game remaining.
“It was a good second half display on Friday,” said Harps boss Ollie Horgan of the 2-2 draw with Wexford. “As I said before the game, Wexford are a decent and strong side and will prove even more difficult in the cup game down there in a couple of weeks.
“The penalty opportunity would probably have killed the game but you could never be sure with Wexford. They never lie down as we saw on Friday night,” continued Horgan.
“The second half was very open with chances for both sides at either end. We went to try and win the game, as they did.
“Overall a draw might have been fair reflection on the game but obviously our missed penalty and the concession of their penalty were disappointing. We gave a good account of ourselves in the second half and showed lots of energy and spirit.”
Saturday night’s trip to Longford is easily Harps’ most difficult game left this season and they face a Longford team who haven’t tasted defeat in the league since losing by the odd goal in five to Shelbourne at Tolka Park at the beginning of May. In the 13 games since then, Longford have picked up maximum points in 12 of those fixtures with the only blotch on the copybook coming in a scoreless draw at bottom team Cobh – some nine games ago.
“Longford are unbeaten in around a dozen games and have won their last eight games including the game before the break in Ballybofey,” said Horgan. “It will be a hugely difficult ask away from home against a very strong and experienced team but we will look forward to it and see where it takes us,” he said.
Horgan will have to plan without the suspended Caoimhin Bonner on Saturday, while he also has doubts over the fitness of midfielder Pat McCann (foot) and goalkeeper Conor Winn (knee).
Longford are the only side who had a 100% record against Harps in the opening half of the season, having won both games between the sides on 1-0 scorelines. Longford are also the last side to have won against Harps, that coming on 13th June when they left Finn Park with that 1-0 victory courtesy of Glen O’Connor’s late free-kick.