By Robert O’Reilly
Drogheda United boss Tim Clancy will have a full squad to choose from when his side hosts Finn Harps tomorrow night, kick-off 7.45pm at United Park.
The Drogs will start life in the First Division under a new look management team with Clancy in charge following Pete Mahon’s departure in the off-season.
33-year-old Clancy, who will work alongside Director of Football Dave Robertson, has kept the spine of last year’s side in place and the former Bray Wanderers defender has been pleased with how pre-season has gone.
“We’ve had a really good pre-season and it’s a real bonus to be going into tomorrow night with a clean bill of health,” Clancy explained Thursday afternoon. “The players have gelled very well and the fitness levels look excellent.
“We’ve played four Premier Division sides and had some good results to go along with positive performances so hopefully we take that into Friday.”
The Boynesiders have won their last four opening night fixtures, stretching back to 2014, but Clancy is wary of a Harps side who he believes has strengthened in the off-season.
“We know what Finn Harps are going to be all about. Ollie Horgan gets his teams well organised, difficult to beat and always carry a threat going forward.
“I went to see them play Sligo Rovers in a friendly a couple of weeks ago and they more than held their own. They’ve made a number of good signings and we know we’ll be in for a tough game.”
The Drogheda boss has stressed the importance of starting the campaign off on the right foot while emphasising the need to make United Park a fortress in 2018.
“I think Ollie Horgan said during the week that it’s an impossible Division to call, you’ve as much a chance of finishing top as you do bottom and I couldn’t agree more.
“It looks the most competitive First Division in years. United Park isn’t an easy place to go to, I don’t think opposition players enjoy playing here and we need to take full advantage of that.
“We want to make it as uncomfortable as possible for them and make sure that any side coming to United Park knows that they’re in for a game.”
Lloyd Buckley will be available for selection having signed a new contract during the week.