Healy promises to ring the changes for visit of Athlone

Two defeats on the bounce have prompted Finn Harps director of football Felix Healy to consider ringing the changes ahead of Saturday night’s visit of Athlone Town to Finn Park (kick off 7.45pm).

Two defeats on the bounce have prompted Finn Harps director of football Felix Healy to consider ringing the changes ahead of Saturday night’s visit of Athlone Town to Finn Park (kick off 7.45pm).

Healy has hinted there could be at least three players left out of the side that lost 3-0 to struggling Mervue United on Friday night. He also insisted his players have got to cut out the silly mistakes that have been costing the team so dearly in recent weeks.

“It’s just like what happened the lad Chris Smalling on Monday night for Man United (for Vincent Kompany’s winning goal for Manchester City),” he said. “He switched off on the corner and got caught out and all of a sudden they’re one down. I’ve been trying to hammer that point home to our lads for so long now.

“At this level of the game, you simply can’t afford to switch off or you’ll be punished. Against Mervue, we controlled the game for the first 45 minutes but in injury time, one of our players switches off and we conceded.

“If you look at the Limerick game, okay we didn’t play well that night, but two of the three goals they scored came from set piece situations which again, weren’t defended well.”

Healy hasn’t held back in his disappointment at the manner of his team’s defeat at the weekend. “There are a lot of people who are rightly very angry at what went on,” he said. “And there’s nobody in the club more angry than your’s truly.

“What was probably most disappointing was the fact that we just didn’t respond after conceding the second goal. Johnny Glynn (the Mervue manager) said to me afterwards that they had the greater hunger in the game and he was right. Two or three of our lads have been very poor in relation to their performances over the past couple of weeks. We just can’t afford that.”

Harps played Drumkeen United in a friendly in Drumkeen on Tuesday night with Healy taking the opportunity to give some of his fringe players a much-needed run-out.

“There are a number of guys who need more game-time but at times it’s just impossible to give them games,” he said.

He refused to be drawn on what changes he might consider for this weekend but players like Ciaran Greene, Barry O’Mahony, Thomas Bonner and Matthew Harkin will all be in with a shout.

Thomas McBride will serve an additional one-game suspension imposed following his red card against Limerick - he also missed last weekend’s match because of an automatic ban.

On the injury front, goalkeeper Ciaran Gallagher is expected to return to training tonight having missed the last number of games following his injury scare in Waterford in March.

Chris Breen is a couple of weeks away from a return to action while Keith Cowan, who hasn’t played since the opening night of the season, continues to make progress and is expected to begin some jogging next week.

Saturday night’s visit of Athlone marks the second meeting of the sides this season. Athlone won 2-0 at Athlone Town Stadium on St Patrick’s weekend.