This Friday Finn Harps play host to UCD in a huge bottom of the table clash and their first home game in over a month. Harps and the Students are no strangers to each other with this being the sides’ 7th meeting in the last two seasons. But even with the change in manager and some personnel midfielder Mark Coyle says he doesn’t expect there to be any drop in competition. ‘It’s going to be a tough game. Not once have I ever played UCD and felt like it wasn't a battle, even in the games we've won. They're a very good side and play great football, which normally means a lot of running for me! They have plenty of good young players too - nice to watch but definitely not to play against. I am confident we can get a win but it definitely won't be easy by any means.”
At present Harps occupy 9th place and look destined for the playoff for the third time in the last 4 years. When asked about how they might prepare if standings are the same come the season’s end, Coyle says the lads aren’t thinking that far ahead: “We’re not getting ahead of ourselves to be honest. Let me tell you Ollie won’t let us underestimate anyone we come up against. We know well ourselves last year the feeling of being the ‘underdog’ in the playoff and how that can motivate you. We’ve some good experience in the squad too with the likes of Keith and Raf so we believe we’re able to deal with anything that might come our way.
With the survival race reaching its final chapters he believes that the key to retaining their place in the Premier Division lies in taking each game as it comes and staying grounded. “I wouldn't even look ahead to a potential playoff. We have UCD now, if we lose that its back to a 3 point gap and it’s hell for leather again. Just take each game as it comes and train well. This game now on Friday is massive and we're not thinking about anything else just yet. No matter the result we’ll keep going and if we end up in the playoff take nothing for granted and prepare properly. Hopefully we can do the business.”
The full version of this interview will appear in the Finn Harps programme on Friday night. Make sure to pick up your copy for just €3. Photo by Clare McCahill