Hutton wants a net increase

FINN HARPS aim to get on the scoresheet for the first time in pre-season when they take on Dergview at Finn Park on Wednesday night (kick-off 7.30pm).

FINN HARPS aim to get on the scoresheet for the first time in pre-season when they take on Dergview at Finn Park on Wednesday night (kick-off 7.30pm).

The team managed by Peter Hutton fell to a 1-0 loss against Airtricity League Premier Division Dundalk at Oriel Park on Sunday, when a scrappy encounter was decided by a Peter Thomas header in the 65th minute.

That result means that Harps have now drawn four successive blanks in pre-season following 1-0 losses at Irish League outfits Limavady United and Crusaders, as well as a 3-0 reversal at the hands of Derry City.

“It was a good run-out,” Hutton said of Oriel. “We improved in certain aspects and are happy with the balance, shape and fitness of the team, particularly against decent opposition. I realise we’ve not been scoring but we created a number of chances and I would be a lot more concerned if we were not making chances. We’re still very much a work in progress.

“We’re tipping on OK. Granted, I know the results have not been the best but that’s what pre-season is all about. It’s better to be like this now than four weeks into the season.”

Harps lost three players to minor injuries their manager describes as complaints commonly felt after performing on a 3G surface like Dundalk’s.

“Stephen O’Donnell has been suffering with a badly bruised foot since the game in Derry and thought he would be fine in Dundalk,” Hutton added. “However, the 3G pitch can be unforgiving and he got another bit of a bang on it so we didn’t want to take any further chances. Ciaran Coll had a similar complaint with his knee and Thomas McMonagle too with a sore ankle.”

After Dergview, Harps will host Cockhill Celtic at Orchard Park in Convoy on Friday night and then will travel to take on Buncrana Hearts on Sunday afternoon at a venue to be confirmed.

Finn Harps (v Dundalk): Ciarán Gallagher, James Doherty, Ciarán Greene, Thomas McMonagle, Keith Cowan, Hugh Carlin, Adam Clarke, Thomas Bonner, Stephen O’Donnell, Kevin McHugh, Ciarán Coll.

Subs: Rory Kelly, Eamon Gallagher, Aaron O’Hagan, Darragh Healy, Barry O’Mahony, Blain Curtis.