Athlone Town might well be 40 League of Ireland games without a win – but Finn Harps manager Ollie Horgan says tonight’s game in Lissywoolen will be a ‘really tough test’.
The Midlanders haven’t won since beating Cobh Ramblers 2-1 in May 2017 – a record for the longest stretch in the League of Ireland without a victory.
Harps are unbeaten in their last six League outings and are in second spot in the standings. With only four games left in the regular season, Harps are well poised to make the play-offs given that they hold a six-point lead to fifth-placed Longford Town.
Harps, who defeated Premier Division Bray Wanderers last weekend in the FAI Cup, are still without Paddy McCourt while Horgan says Mark Coyle, Nathan Boyle and Ciaran Coll are all rated as ‘doubtful’
“This will be a really tough test for us because there is an expectancy from our fans and neutrals that we should win easy against Athlone,” Horgan acknowledged.
“The wins against the likes of play-off contenders like Longford and Drogheda will be all for nothing if we can’t get the right result at Lissywoolen.
“We have to respect Athlone and our players have to approach the game in the right manner otherwise we will be going home feeling sorry for ourselves.”
Athlone have drawn just twice this year – but one of those was a 1-1 stalemate with Harps early in the season.
Harps might have hit a 4-0 win over them in Ballybofey, but Horgan says they’re a different proposition at home.
He said: “Our players need to be able to lift their game and forget about the fact that Athlone are bottom of the table.
“They have been unlucky in some games and have run some of the top teams close in games at Lissywollen. Terry Butler has brought in a couple players and they are stronger now.
“ The leaders UCD went down there not that long ago and only won 1-0 with a penalty. We just cannot be complacent because if we are the lads could regret it come the end of the season.”