Finn Harps -v- Mervue UnitedSat, Jul 07 2012
After back to back defeats against the top two in recent weeks, Peter Hutton will be hoping that his side can obtain victory against a Mervue United side which currently sits behind them in the First Division table when the two meet at Finn Park on Saturday night (kick-off 7.45pm).
Two weeks ago, Harps lost 3-1 to leaders Longford Town at Finn Park and followed it up with a 3-0 defeat to second placed Limerick last weekend.
Going into this week’s game, Harps Manager Peter Hutton has urged his players to remained disciplined after watching his side receive a fourth red card in nine games during last week’s game against Limerick.
“We definitely could’ve done without it”, said Hutton of Thomas McBride’s red card in Limerick. “Our discipline, in general, has to improve. The amount of yellow cards we’re picking up is just not good enough. You don’t mind if someone gets booked for a tackle but to get booked for dissent is not acceptable. We don’t need it, given the small squad we have and the amount of injuries we’ve had to contend with this season.”
Harps have a decent record against Mervue at Finn Park, having beaten them in four of the five meetings between the two sides at home. “We beat them up here the last time we played them at Finn Park”, said Hutton, “but obviously they beat us fairly comprehensively down at their place, which was actually their first win of the season. We were just very complacent and it was a case of men against boys.”
“We’ll be expecting another tough game on Saturday. They’ll be smarting from last week’s game having conceded a goal right at the end to lose against Longford. But we just have to concentrate on our own game and what we can bring to the table. We’re well capable of beating Mervue at home if we play to our best.”
Harps will have new signings Mark Scoltock and Michael Funston available for the first time on Saturday, and both are expected to slot straight into the starting eleven. Thomas McBride is suspended.
Johnny Glynn's squad will be looking to bounce back from two home defeats in a row after suffering disappointing losses to city neighbours SD Galway and league leaders Longford Town in the past two weeks. Last week’s defeat to Longford was heart breaking for Glynn’s side having led 3-0 at the break, the harsh second half dismissals of both Pat Hoban and Tom King coupled with the awarding of a very soft 93rd minute penalty allowed Tony Cousins’s side come back to win 5-4 in the end.
Glynn will be without goalkeeper Ronan Forde (fractured finger), Kenny Farrell (ankle), Michael McSweeney (hamstring) who are all injured, while James Casserly will not travel due to work commitments. Both Jason Molloy (hamstring) and Alan Murphy (ankle) are also doubts with both suffering second half injuries in last week’s nine goal thriller. Barry McEntee (foot) and Mike Collins will return to the squad, while new signing Jean Biansumba could feature for the first time for the club.
Manager Glynn on Saturday night’s game “We will need to put last week’s game behind us and concentrate on Finn Harps on Saturday night as we need a good result to try and close the gap on them just above us in the table. If we can repeat last week’s first half performance we won’t be too far away, but the loss of our top goalscorer Pat Hoban and Tom King through suspension makes it harder but it does give other players a chance to prove themselves.”
Referee: Rhona Daly
The previous two meetings between the sides this season have resulted in a victory apiece on home soil. Last March, Harps won by the odd goal in seven at Finn Park, while the most recent meeting finished in a 3-0 victory for Mervue at Fahy’s Field at the end of April.
Both teams have scored a total of 21 goals in the league this season.
After 15 games, Finn Harps have yet to draw a game in the league, a feat only matched by Limerick.
Finn Harps 11/10; Draw 9/4; Mervue United 9/4
Finn Harps 1 - 2 Mervue United
Finn Harps Injury News: Stephen O'Donnell (cruciate), Hugh Carlin (cruciate), Blain Curtis (cruciate)
Finn Harps Suspension News: Thomas McBride
Mervue United Injury News: Ronan Forde (fractured finger), Kenny Farrell (ankle), Michael Sweeney (hamstring), James Casserly (unavailable), Jason Molloy (hamstring - doubt), Alan Murphy (ankle - doubt)
Mervue United Suspension News: Thomas King, Pat Hoban
Gareth Penrose is the founder of Extratime.ie. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter at @garethpenrose