Dundalk make the trip to Ballybofey on Friday night looking to bounce back from last week’s injury-time defeat to St Patrick’s Athletic.
Adam O’Reilly’s last-gasp strike ended Dundalk’s unbeaten home run and moved Pat’s just a point behind the third-placed Lilywhites with four games left to play.
Stephen O’Donnell’s side will come up against a Harps team who are battling for their SSE Airtricity League Premier Division lives.
Ollie Horgan’s men are level on points with bottom-of-the-table UCD but occupy the relegation playoff spot because of their superior goal difference.
The last time Dundalk were beaten at Finn Park was back in November 2007 when Harps beat John Gill’s side in a promotion playoff.
Since then, the Lilywhites have pieced together a 10-game unbeaten run at the ground, the highlight being a 7-0 win in 2016 when Andy Boyle, Robbie Benson and David McMillan all scored and Brian Gartland and John Mountney both started.
Dundalk’s last trip to the north-west also ended in a win when Daniel Kelly, who underwent surgery on a hamstring injury earlier this week, scored the only goal of a hard-fought game back in May and, speaking to dundalkfc.com, Andy Boyle said he expected more of the same on Friday night.
“No matter when you go up to Finn Park, it’s always a tough game,” said the Dundalk skipper. “It’s going to be a good test for us and it can go one of two ways but we have a good group and we have the character within it to go up there and get a result.
“We’ve got four big games to play and we are still in the driving seat. That’s the way we need to look at it and we would have taken this position at the start of the season.
“Last week’s result was a bitter pill to swallow but we’ve responded well in training this week. We were in last Saturday to break the Pat’s game down and we’ve moved on from it. It was obviously a sore one at the time but we’re a week on now and the focus is fully on beating Harps.”
“Finn Harps is a tough place to go at any time of the year,” said Lilywhites head coach Stephen O’Donnell. “I’ve not been in coaching that long but I’ve had a lot of tough games up there and Friday night will be no different.
“We’re coming off the back of a sucker punch last Friday but there were a lot of positives and we’re hoping to bring that into tomorrow. We know what kind of game it’s going to be and we’ve been clear on it all week.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” he added. “It’s going to be a really good test from a character and mentality point of view and I love those types of games.”