Kavanagh returns to boost Harps ahead of crunch visit to UCD

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John Kavanagh will come back into the Finn Harps squad tomorrow night as Ollie Horgan’s men chase a first win of the season.

Kavanagh missed last week’s 4-3 loss to Cork City, the club from which he is on loan at Finn Park, but is expected to be restored to the starting line-up tomorrow night, when Harps face UCD.

It is a clash of the newly-promoted teams with last year’s First Division winners UCD hosting play-off victors Harps (Belfield Bowl, 7.45pm).

Neither side has tasted victory this season so far and, already, it has the feel of a six-pointer of sorts.

“We were beaten twice by UCD last season and drew with them in Belfield near the end of the season,” Horgan pointed out.

They might only have a point this season but we are only one better than them. UCD also have a game in hand on us now.

“Neither of us have won a league game so far this season so the pressure is on both of us try and get results as soon as possible.

“The last week hasn’t been good for us with three defeats on the trot but we have to batter on. If we keep positive and put the work in hopefully more points will come but it’s going to be very difficult for us.”

Since drawing with St Patrick’s Athletic at Inchicore, Harps have been beaten by Sligo Rovers, Shamrock Rovers and Cork. Despite scoring three times at home last week, Horgan’s men were undone by the Rebels.

Last Saturday, Horgan was at the Showgrounds to see UCD pipped by Sligo in a game they might well have won.

The Harps boss said: “We must be prepared for an onslaught from UCD tomorrow night.

“They were unlucky not to get something from the game against Sligo Rovers and that will make them doubly determined to throw everything at getting three points against us tomorrow night on their home pitch.”

Horgan has listed Nathan Boyle and Caolan McAleer as doubtful for the game.

Meanwhile, Harps kitman Dougie McNulty has been hit with a three-game suspension by the FAI’s disciplinary controls unit.

Harps assistant manager Paul Hegarty serves the last of a three-game ban tomorrow night at the Belfield Bowl, while Horgan is awaiting a sanction following his sending off against Shamrock Rovers.

The FAI have confirmed that Tomás Connolly, the fourth official with whom Horgan had issue in Tallaght, will be fourth official for tomorrow night’s game, which will be refereed by Robert Harvey.

Sports writer from St Johnston, now based in Letterkenny, with ten years' experience covering sport in Donegal. Was a nominee for NUJ Sports Journalist of the Year in 2010. Honoured by the Donegal Boxing Board in 2016 for his coverage on the sport.

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