Tuesday 23 April 2019

Bradley backs Hoops' squad to prove their quality

It's the league leaders against the team rock bottom in the Premier Division so no wonder Finn Harps manager Ollie Horgan admits it’s going to be hard for his players to find a way past Shamrock Rovers tonight. (stock picture)
It's the league leaders against the team rock bottom in the Premier Division so no wonder Finn Harps manager Ollie Horgan admits it’s going to be hard for his players to find a way past Shamrock Rovers tonight. (stock picture)

Aidan Fitzmaurice

It's the league leaders against the team rock bottom in the Premier Division so no wonder Finn Harps manager Ollie Horgan admits it's going to be hard for his players to find a way past Shamrock Rovers tonight.

The extent of call-ups at U-21 international level leaves the Harps-Rovers game as the only survivor of the original fixture list.

Rovers could have requested a postponement as they have three players on international duty.

Jack Byrne is in Gibraltar with the Ireland senior squad, while Brandon Kavanagh was a late call-up to the U-21 panel, where he joined Trevor Clarke.

However, Rovers head coach has opted to play the game, sensing a real opportunity from the timing as a win tonight would put Rovers seven points ahead Dundalk, although the champions would have two games in hand.

"I don't see a reason to call it off. We believe the squad is strong, so let's go and play the game," said Bradley.

Harps, on a run of four straight defeats, can only admire that optimism and Horgan realises the size of the task ahead of them.

"We will be long odds to get anything from this game but we're up for the challenge and the players have prepared well this week.

"Shamrock Rovers are full-time so they have the advantage of working on all aspects of the game. We just have to try and finds other ways of being competitive against a team that really is in-form and that's reflected in them being top of the table."

After a positive start to the season, where Harps narrowly lost to Bohemians on the opening night and then took points off Dundalk and St Patrick's Athletic, things have turned, in the wrong direction, for Harps.

Finn Harps v Shamrock RVs

(Finn Park, 8.0)

Team news: Rovers have Jack Byrne, Trevor Clarke and Brandon Kavangh on international duty. Harps are without injured duo Mark Timlin and Gareth Harkin, while Sean Boyd is ineligible due to the terms of his loan deal from Rovers.

Talking point: A real contrast in mood here. Rovers are in form in front of goal while Harps have conceded an average of three goals per game this month

Ref: Derek Tomney

Odds: Harps 6/1, Rovers 1/2, Draw 14/5

Verdict: Away win

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