It all comes down to the last game of the season this time around for Ollie Horgan’s side, who in previous years have been assured of a play-off spot with a couple of games to go.
This season, the goal is simple for the Ballybofey outfit, win the match against Waterford and hope results go their way elsewhere. At the end of 90 minutes a win might not be enough as it is out of their hands as they need Shelbourne to lose against champions Shamrock Rovers.
Harps won the encounter down at the RSC in a five-goal thriller earlier in the campaign but the stakes are different this time around for both sides with Waterford reaching out for a European spot which is currently occupied by Dundalk.
Ollie Horgan spoke briefly with the clubs media team ahead of the crunch match and he knows just how much of a threat Waterford will pose.
“Waterford will be a huge challenge,” said Horgan. “They’re up near the top of the league for a reason and they will be coming up here expecting a win.”
Harps lost in their last outing to the side they need a favour off of on Monday night and veteran forward Raffaele Cretaro, who spoke with extratime.com after that match, noted that the group of players is confident they can get the job done.
“The last couple of performances like at Dalymount and even before that, you can see how good and confident the lads are.”
Ahead of the final game, Cretaro matched his Gaffer’s thoughts on the upcoming opposition.
“Waterford are a good side, they’re a great side actually. We played them down there earlier in the season and I think that was the result that really got the confidence flowing within the squad.”
Fran Rockett’s side share a similar need for points heading into this final game, as their victory over Dundalk two weeks ago kept them in the hunt for the spot which Filippo Giovagnoli’s side currently reside in.
A win for the Blues would be enough to overtake Dundalk but only if they slip up against Sligo Rovers. With both teams having something on the line, this promises to be an enticing game and speaking with his club’s media team, Rockett noted that it will be a very tricky encounter.
“Finn Harps have been a bogey team for us in recent games. They’re a tricky side to play against and especially at Finn Park.”
On his own side's ambitions and end to the season, his aim is to give the fans one last win to see out the year.
“We want to finish as high up the table as possible and if that means keeping ourselves in contention for a European spot, then so be it. We are focusing solely on the game on Monday and we’ll see what happens.
“This group of lads have always given their all week in week out, so for them it would be massive to round out the season with a win – and more importantly it would be huge to give the fans another win to celebrate with everything going on in the world at the minute, but we are under no illusion of the battle that is in front of us.” he added.
Referee: Paul McLaughlin
The last encounter between these sides saw Finn Harps come out on top courtesy of two late goals from Alexander Kogler and Adrian Delap. Alistair Coote and John Martin had given Waterford the lead in that tie with Dave Webster scoring Finn Harps’ first of the day.
The last battle between the two at Finn Park again saw Harp’s emerge victorious thanks to an early goal from Joshua Smith in August 2019.
Finn Harps are unbeaten in their last four encounters with Waterford.
Harps 8/5; Draw 23/10; Waterford 6/4
Injured: Mark Timlin
Doubtful: Shane McEleney, Karl O’Sullivan
Suspended: Leo Donnellan
Injured: Sam Bone
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