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01/08/2021

Preview: Finn Harps face Waterford in proverbial six-pointer

Preview: Finn Harps face Waterford in proverbial six-pointer

Adam Foley has a good record against Waterford

Finn Harps have a remarkable recent record against Waterford - they’ve beaten the Blues in their last seven league meetings - and they would dearly love to keep that winning streak going.

It’s a case of eighth hosting ninth in this evening’s game at Finn Park (kick-off is 5.45 pm), and the outcome could have a significant bearing on what happens at the end of the season.

Harps have collected just six points (one win and three draws) in their last ten matches, and manager Ollie Horgan has acknowledged that they are heading for another “dog-fight” if they don’t pick things up soon.

Waterford are seven points adrift of the Donegal club, but a win this weekend for the visitors would narrow the gap to just four - with 16 games still to play.

And another defeat for Harps would certainly sow some seeds of doubt and their table topping position after match day two would be an even more distant memory.

By contrast, a win for Harps would be a timely boost and would give them a ten point cushion over Waterford. It’s the proverbial six-pointer.

Harps have already completed a home and away double over the Suirsiders this year, but the Waterford side in Ballybofey this time around will be quite different from the one back in April, which was managed by former Republic of Ireland and Everton star Kevin Sheedy. Harps won 2-1.

And when they met in May at the RSC, Harps were winners by the same scoreline, with one report from the venue stating that “the gap between bottom of the table Waterford and fifth place Finn Harps was fairly evident over the course of the full 90 minutes.”

Marc Bircham had just taken charge of Waterford, and has since made quite a few personnel changes.

Among their new arrivals are 20-year-old Max Hutchinson- the son of former Everton and Liverpool midfielder Don, who featured with Motherwell in Scotland as well as the leagues below, while also training with Rangers - and 21-year-old defender George Forrest, who was previously with Crawley Town in the English Football League and is the son of club owner Richard.

Harps will welcome back Mark Coyle from suspension but there are still injury concerns about Shane McEleney and captain Dave Webster.

Harps have actually scored in each of their last seven games, and they really need to fire on all cylinders to halt the recent side.

Horgan readily admitted they were just not good enough in last week’s 3-1 defeat away to Drogheda. “We have to improve,” he said.

Waterford have shown some improvement in recent outings, and have actually chalked up two wins - over Dundalk and Longford Town - as well as a draw, against St. Patrick’s Athletic - in their last five games.

Given Harps’ recent struggles a share of the spoils may not be that come an outcome insofar as it would at least ensure that the gap with Waterford remains the same on the league ladder.

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