KEVIN Doherty will be hoping history repeats itself when Drogheda United host fellow strugglers Finn Harps on Friday attempting to avoid a fifth successive Premier Division defeat.
Last summer the Boynesiders lost four on the bounce during the summer before unexpectedly picking up their first win over Dundalk at Oriel Park in a decade and three points against Ollie Horgan’s charges would go a long way towards steadying any nerves in the Drogheda camp following those successive losses at the hands of Sligo, Dundalk, St Pat’s and Shelbourne.
Mindful of conceding 11 goals in their previous three games, Doherty’s charges lined out in a more defensive formation than usual against Shels at Tolka Park and the result was a bit of a chess match which was ultimately settled by one loss of concentration in the back four.
Doherty, though, was encouraged, saying: “I thought it was much better than the previous couple of weeks. We watched them against Sligo (1-0 win) and they should have beaten Sligo by four or five, so we had a plan and it worked to a certain extent.
“They were using the diagonal balls from Aaron O’Driscoll and Shane Griffin and 99% of the time we headed them away, so the goal we conceded was a hard one to take.
“There was nothing between the teams, it could have gone either way and I think a draw would have been a fair result.
“Lads were disappointed after the game understandably, but at training we had a chat with them and we said there were positives in terms of our shape and discipline and we put in a decent performance.”
Harps come to Head in the Game Park on Friday (kick-off 7.45pm) themselves looking to bounce back from a surprise home defeat at the hands of UCD, a result that tightens things up considerably at the foot of the table.
Doherty feels there will be little between the teams, as has been the case for the past number of years.
Indeed, the previous meeting this season at Finn Park ended 2-2, with Ryan Brennan securing a late point after Harps had scored twice in reply to James Clarke’s early strike.
“People say how good we were last season, but at one stage towards the end of the season we picked up one point from four games and we stayed up on the last day,” Doherty recalled.
“It’s a big game for us against Finn Harps on Friday and people will say it’s a six-pointer, but it’s the 16th game of the season and we’ve another 20 to go. It’s a long stretch.
“Harps and ourselves are the only two part-time teams in the league and it’s no surprise that we’ve been very evenly matched every year since I’ve been here (at Drogheda).
“They had a great win against Shels the week before last and will be looking at us as a chance to pick up three points, but we’ll have a plan and we need to go out there and build on what we did last week.”
Adam Foley has a chance of making the bench for Friday’s match after missing the last nine games through injury, while Darragh Markey is also very close to making his comeback after a similar period on the sidelines.
Drogheda then welcome league leaders Shamrock Rovers to Head in the Game Park on Monday night in another fixture that has a 7.45pm kick-off time.
Meanwhile, Doherty said he expects the situation regarding Lincoln City loanees Sean Roughan and Sam Long to become clearer next week, after the Imps appointed former Republic of Ireland international Mark Kennedy as their new manager.
Roughan has previously expressed his wish to return to the League 1 club in the summer.