Having played the four teams immediately above them in the table over the last month, Finn Harps start a run of three games against the teams below them in the table on Friday night when they make the long trip south to the RSC to face Waterford United (kick-off 7.45pm).
Those four games against Galway, Wexford, Shelbourne and Longford might have seen Harps remain unbeaten but only four points were picked up as all four games finished in draws.
Last week’s 0-0 stalemate at Longford was Harps’ fifth draw in a row, but it meant that Ollie Horgan’s side have now lost just once in their last thirteen games in all competitions.
With just seven games of the season remaining, seven points separate Harps and the play-off spots.
But with fixtures coming up against the three teams immediately below them over the next few weeks, Harps fans will be hoping they can bridge that gap. However, Horgan is urging caution.
“On paper that target of three wins looks possible but in reality it would take a massive effort and an amount of good fortune,” said the Harps boss as he looked forward to the trip to Waterford.
“In reality, we have only won five games in the league all year so three in a row seems a huge ask especially with two of the games away from home. But we won’t be looking past Waterford.
“While it is nice to only have lost once in so many games, out of the ten draws before Saturday, we would be better off winning five games, losing the other five games and be five points better off!,” he said.
Horgan has always insisted that the 2-0 reversal at the RSC at the back end of April was his sides worst defeat of the season and he’s hoping there is no repeat on Friday.
“Our last performance in Waterford was our poorest display of the season so far. They outplayed us in most departments and had the game won well before the final whistle so we know how difficult it is going to be on Friday,” he warned.
Last week Harps held league leaders Longford Town to a scoreless draw. It was only the second time in fourteen games that Longford had failed to register a victory.
“It was a good result in Longford considering the run that they are on”, said Horgan. “First half we competed higher up the pitch and created a number of chances but in second half Longford pinned us back and we held out for a draw with great defending and no shortage of courage.
“We have defended well all year in general with the exception of the away game to Waterford. We have defended with a little bit of courage and passion, but that has to continue,” he said.
Horgan will have to shuffle his pack as Packie Mailey and Damien McNulty join their fellow defender Caoimhin Bonner on the suspension list. Thomas McMonagle and Josh Mailey both came off against Longford last weekend with knocks and are doubts.
Friday’s game signals the start of the fourth and final quarter of the season. In the three previous meetings this season, each side has recorded a win apiece while the opening game of the season at Finn Park finished in a draw.