Table-topping Dundalk are the visitors to Finn Park this Saturday night for a Premier Division clash that on paper should have only one winner.

Granted, Harps extracted a point from the Lilywhites in their first home game of the season back in February, but the Louth side – after a slow start by their standards – have now really kicked on.

Indeed, Dundalk have won 12 out of their last 13 league games, the exception being a 2-2 draw with Derry City.

And they will come to Finn Park fully confident that they can collect the maximum points on offer as they bid to stay ahead of second placed Shamrock Rovers.

Harps boss Ollie Horgan remarks that there is “never a good time to play Dundalk” and given that the latter thumped Sligo Rovers 4-0, and Harps lost 5-3 to Bohemians, it could well be backs to the walls stuff for the Donegal outfit.

Yet, in some respects, there is nothing to lose as far as Harps are concerned. Nobody expects them to get anything from this game.

In their last nine games against Dundalk, Harps have scored once and conceded 26 goals. That shows the gulf between the clubs.

Indeed, Horgan may well use the occasion to tinker with his starting eleven, mindful of games ahead against sides where they may be better equipped to get some return.

However, goal difference could well be key come the end of the season, so bearing this in mind, it could still be a damage limitation exercise.

Harps are joint bottom with UCD, who have no game as Conor Kearns and Liam Scales are involved in the Republic of Ireland Under-21s participation in the prestigious Tournoi Maurice Revello in Toulon, France.

A third UCD player, Neil Farrugia (who has trained with Manchester City and who has been linked with several Airtricity League clubs, was called into the squad but is currently injured.

Reflecting on the Bohs defeat, Horgan felt that four of the five goals conceded were down to mistakes.
But some heart can be taken from the fact that Harps netted three times against the lean, mean Bohs defence.

“The killer is that we put three past Bohs who do not concede many at home, but in the end they were comfortable winners,” he noted.

Due to the Republic of Ireland of Ireland being in action against Denmark on Friday, the game has been scheduled with the other matches in the division for Saturday. Kick-off is 8.00 pm.

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