Saturday 16 December 2017

We must make home advantage count, warns Horgan

Finn Harps manager Ollie Horgan. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Finn Harps manager Ollie Horgan. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

It's unlikely that an extended cup run will feature too high on Finn Harps' list of preferences at this crucial stage of the season but the same cannot be said of a resurgent Bohemians side.

Keith Long might have felt that way three weeks ago but having picked up seven points from a possible nine in their last three league outings, a bit of breathing space has opened up between his side and the drop zone.

Bohs have been excellent in recent weeks but at times still struggle to seize the initiative when their backs are not against the wall.

Despite having to make the long trip to Donegal this evening, they must look to take advantage of any relegation fears that may linger in the Harps camp.

Harps were 2-1 winners when the two teams met in Finn Park last month but the home side are without several key players for this cup clash.

Gareth Harkin (back) is ruled out as is Danny Morrissey (hamstring). Eddie Dsane is a major doubt after an illness that kept the in-form striker in hospital last weekend and Pascal Millien picked up a groin strain in training on Wednesday night. Damien McNulty is suspended.

Fuad Sule of Bohemians with Player of the Month award for July. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Fuad Sule of Bohemians with Player of the Month award for July. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Ollie Horgan's squad has been stretched to its limit but he must manage his resources very carefully as he looks to ensure that Harps remain in the top flight.

"We've been here before in terms of a number of injuries but the lads are still looking forward to the different challenge of a cup game," the Harps manager said.

"Bohs proved their pedigree by the two wins they had against Cork City and Shamrock Rovers in quick succession. They are still well enough positioned to have a go at getting a place in Europe.

"We have a great opportunity with home advantage to progress but it will be mighty tough against Bohs who will punish us if we're not at the top of our game," he added.

Greg Murray (hand) and Eoin Wearen (cruciate) remain sidelined for Bohs but they will travel north full of confidence that they can advance to the second round.

Elsewhere, Crumlin United will aim to cause a major shock when they travel to Wexford to take on the First Division's bottom side.

Cabinteely host UCD in a Dublin derby that promises to be a cracker. Just one place separates the two sides in the league as the students look to ensure that their superior position in the table stands to them in the cup. Georgie Kelly has been in fine form for UCD and tops the first division scoring charts with 14 goals.

First Division leaders Waterford will aim to keep their hopes of winning the double alive when they welcome Shelbourne to the RSC.

Meanwhile, Derry City striker Ronan Curtis is in Sweden ahead of his move to Ostersunds. The transfer is understood to be worth over €100,000 plus add-ons.

Irish Independent

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