Finn Harps have to end their losing streak somewhere – and where better than away to great old rivals Sligo Rovers in tonight’s big north-west derby at the Showgrounds in the Airtricity League Premier Division.
Earlier in the league campaign, Sligo recorded their first win under Liam Buckley with a 2-1 success at Finn Park.
But when the sides met in the EA Sports League Cup at the same venue a few weeks later Harps managed a 2-1 win after extra-time – their first and only competitive win this season.
And that success will be something that Harps boss Ollie Horgan will reflect on as he tries to lift his players and give them a sense of self-belief going into the north-west derby clash, despite the sobering fact that they have lost ten games on the trot.
He reckons that his beleaguered side might need a bit of luck as well.
"We need something to fall for us," he said. "We need everything to go our way in a game, we need the other team to score an own goal, or to have a player sent off.
"It's very difficult to turn things around, but we have been here before. It's not for the lack of trying. All the teams have quality."
Both clubs will have to go into the game without a number of injured players, and the fact that they are both in action again on Monday (third from bottom Sligo host travel to UCD and basement team Harps are in Cork), adds to the importance of the occasion.
Both teams badly need points on the board.
Looking ahead to the Harps game, Buckley said: “There are no easy games in the league, we played in Ballybofey and it was a tough game, but we are looking forward to it and please God we can get a result.”
If Sligo can win against both Harps and UCD, it would give them a real cushion over the bottom two.
For Harps, even though the season has yet to reach the mid-point, this falls very much into the ‘must-win’ category.
The Sligo panel includes Donegal players Kyle-Callan McFadden, Jack Keaney and former Cork City captain Johnny Dunleavy, as well as Ballyshannon based goalkeeper Ed McGinty, who relocated from Scotland with his family to play for Rovers.
The Harps line-up is likely to include Caolan McAleer, who had a spell with Sligo, and veteran Raffaele Cretao, but Colm Deasy is suspended.
Cretaro, now 37, announced last December that he was quitting senior soccer, having played in the League of Ireland for 17 seasons.
The Tubbercurry native scored 86 goals in 531 appearances for the Bit o’ Red.
But Horgan lured him out or retirement, anxious to have someone of his experience to play their part in what is essentially a young Harps side.
Football can sometimes throw up some strange outcomes. Perhaps Cretaro could score and help Harps to a first league win of the season!
Kick-off is 7.45 pm.
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