Saints tuned up for Harps clash
Garvan set for home debut tonight
St Patrick's Athletic are aware of the positives that a win over Finn Harps tonight will do for their season.
The resurgent Saints hosts their Donegal counterparts in SSE Airtricity Premier Division action at Richmond Park, Inchicore tonight having gone undefeated in their last five games thanks mainly to the acquisition of some top talent last month.
As St Pat's struggled in the first half of the season, the need for an injection of experienced players became apparent.
In came the midfield quartet Killian Brennan, Owen Garvan, Paul O'Conor and Ian Turner as well as the classy Dutch defender Jordi Balk and, most recently, Polish goalkeeper Lukasz Skowron, who will battle Barry Murphy for the number one jersey vacated by Conor O'Malley who has moved to Peterborough United.
Against Ollie Horgan's Harps tonight, the Saints will be looking to maintain their current form which has seen them claim five wins in their last six games in all competitions.
Liam Buckley's side will also be looking for a reversal in fortunes against the Donegal side as in the two previous meetings to date, Harps side have claimed victories over the Saints.
"Tonight will be another tough game. Harps have recorded several impressive results over the season to date and have signed a few players recently so we know it will be another challenging game against them," said Pat's boss Buckley. "We're coming into the game off a tough game last week against Portmarnock. We got the job done to advance to the next round of the FAI Cup, but know we need to improve on our level of performance.
"We've had some great support over the last few weeks, both in home and away games, so I know we'll get another good backing from our home support tonight. We'll be looking to give them something to shout about again by taking all three points and keep this run of ours going."
Buckley must plan without midfielder Killian Brennan who serves a one match suspension, while defenders Gavin Peers and Darren Dennehy remain on the sidelines through injury, however both are closing in on a return to action.
The game will represent a chance for Owen Garvan to endear himself to the Richmond Park faithful having played his previous three games away from home. Garvan has given a red card at half-time on his debut for the Saints in Cork and, as a result, missed the next three games through suspension.
But the 29-year-old former Crystal Palace, Ipswich and Colchester man will be aiming to make up for lost time. Recent results have propelled the Saints out of the Premier Division relegation zone, but home victories are a must if St Pat's aim to improve on their current status.
Harps, who will have recovered from the FAI Cup entra-time heroics against Bohemians last week, will be without the services of midfield playmaker Paddy McCourt who serves a one-game ban.
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