Finn Harps take on favourites in capital clash

Finn Harps make their first visit of the season to the capital as they take on one of the title favourites, Bohemians, at Dalymount Park on Friday evening (kick-off 8.00pm).

Finn Harps make their first visit of the season to the capital as they take on one of the title favourites, Bohemians, at Dalymount Park on Friday evening (kick-off 8.00pm).

Both sides have won two of their opening three games and Harps will be hoping to register their first away points of the season.

Like last week’s victory over UCD, Paul Hegarty must again plan with a number of injury worries hanging over his team.

Centre-halves Stuart Malcolm and Aaron Labonte, who both missed the one goal victory over UCD with groin strains, are again considered doubtful.

Jonathan Minnock (Achilles) played through the pain barrier last weekend and may return to the treatment table again in place of the returning Shaun Holmes who sat out the UCD game through suspension.

Stephen Parkhouse (medial ligament) is definitely out while Gary Beckett (ligament) remains a doubt as he awaits his first appearance of the season.

Hegarty had to make four changes to his starting line-up last weekend and all things considered the only likely change on Friday night will be Holmes returning in place of Minnock.

It should be a case of 'as-you-were' elsewhere, which means starts again for Declan Boyle and Marc Mukendi in the centre of defence and Kevin Ramsey in attack.

With his makeshift team, Hegarty was rightly pleased with the victory over the Students last time out.

"I was absolutely delighted, because it was a marvellous three points for us. It wasn’t pretty and the pitch was quite poor, but there will be plenty of time for pretty football," he said.

"It was important to get more points on the board, and I have to say that the attitude, work-rate and discipline of the players was absolutely tremendous."

Looking forward to Friday’s trip to Dalymount, Hegarty feels these are the games that his side should be relishing.

It’s a massive game against Bohs, but these are the games that you want to be involved in. If you’re a player then you should like these sort of games. I certainly did when I was a player and it should be no different for the lads."

Harps have a pretty dismal record against Bohs and you have to go all the way back to the 1998-99 season to find the last time that Harps managed to beat the Gypsies.

Indeed, Harps were victors in all three games against the Dalymount side during that season. In the last six meetings between the sides, Harps have picked up just one point - that coming in a 1-1 draw at Finn Park in February 2001.

Bohs finished that season as Champions, while Harps suffered relegation and ended five years in the top flight.

Previous Meetings:

20-Oct-00 (Premier Division) Bohemians 1 Finn Harps 0

21-Feb-01 (Premier Division) Finn Harps 1 Bohemians 1

27-Apr-01 (Premier Division) Bohemians 5 Finn Harps 1

22-Apr-05 (Premier Division) Bohemians 1 Finn Harps 0

16-Jul-05 (Premier Division) Finn Harps 1 Bohemians 3

14-Oct-05 (Premier Division) Bohemians 3 Finn Harps 1

Form guide (last six league games):

Finn Harps: W-D-W-W-L-W (13pts)

Bohemians: W-L-W-W-D-W (13pts)

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