It’s been a bit of a roller-coaster of a season for both the Donegal club and UCD, the bottom two sides, and no doubt there will be a few more twists and turns before the end of the season.
Harps travel to tackle Cork City tomorrow evening (Friday), lying five points ahead of basement occupiers UCD.
The students remain favourites to finish on the lowest rung of the ten team ladder with the consequence being automatic relegation.
But, as Finn Harps boss Ollie Horgan knows only too well, things can change very quickly, and Harps are by no means assured of the relegation play-off berth yet.
Indeed, if you go back to the end of June, it was Harps who were odd-on for the automatic drop.
They endured a bumpy patch that saw them lose five successive games in the league.
Significantly, they were below UCD on goal difference at the bottom - but the Belfield side had three games in hand!
The fact that Harps now have that five point cushion is largely due to a run of three wins on the trot (over Waterford, Derry and Bohemians) at the end of July and the start of August. UCD went into free fall and lost 11 league games in a row.
But they have since recovered slightly and held St. Pat’s to a scoreless draw last time out.
The trip to Cork comes after a disappointing 3-1 away defeat against Sligo Rovers.
“With the change in management they are very much up and at it. It’s a hugely difficult place to go and if we defend like we did against Sligo the game will be up at half time. We need small things to go our way if we are to have any hope of staying in this division, but we will certainly put a fight up and see where that takes us.
“I think it will still go down to the wire and the last game and we are in the Brandywell for that of all places,” he noted.
Cork have lost their last four games, but the fact that they lost out to a late goal away to Dundalk last time out will give them hope.
Neale Fenn was appointed as the club’s new manager shortly after they made their FAI Cup exit away to Galway United.
And having seen his side lose both their games at home under his guidance (against Sligo and Waterford) the Turners Cross faithful will be hoping to see a change of fortunes and a victory against Harps.
Harps are expected to be without Daniel O’Reilly and Nathan Boyle (suspended) but Niall Logue should return from injury.
Kick-off at Turners Cross is 7.45 pm
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