Finn Harps will add goalkeeper Rory Kelly to their playing squad ahead of their trip to Flancare Park to take on Airtricity League Division One leaders Longford Town on Saturday night (7.30pm kick -off).
The Buncrana native is currently living in Liverpool but played in Harps’ pre-season outing against Dundalk at Oriel Park in February and will be moving home later this month.
“We hope to have that wrapped up either at training on Wednesday night or Thursday,” player-manager Peter Hutton said on Wednesday afternoon. “Rory’s a good goalkeeper who was with Derry City’s underage team and played for us in Dundalk.”
Harps approached Kelly after they learned last week that Ciaran Gallagher suffered a hairline fracture of the skull in the 2-0 win over Waterford United a fortnight ago. Shaun Patton deputised in the 2-0 win over SD Galway on Good Friday and the 4-0 EA Sports Cup second round loss to Derry City at the Brandywell on Bank Holiday Monday.
In that game, Harps were forced to take Kevin McHugh from the field after the club captain had a thigh strain, while Adam Clarke complained of a tight calf beforehand and felt it tightening. Both players will have an eye cast of them at training but Hutton and director of football Felix Healy.
“Shaun got a bang on the calf although we’ll see how he is at the end of the week,” Hutton added. “We’ll do the same with Kevin and Adam. As for Ciaran, it’s going to be a few weeks and we’re certainly not going to be pushing or pressurising him to come back before he is ready.”
After three straight wins - against the Mayo League in the league cup and Waterford and SD Galway in the league - Monday’s loss by the Foyle was a sobering one.
Already leading thanks to a clinical Barry Molloy strike, Derry hit twice late in the half. Patrick McEleney doubled the advantage and then Mark Farren steered home from close range. Molloy made it four after the break.
“For 30 or 35 minutes we played fairly well and only began to lose our way after the first goal,” Hutton said of the contest against his former employers.“But to concede two goals in a minute just before half-time was suicidal really. We have a young side and there was a little bit of a lack of experience but it was a good test and it’s something we can definitely learn from. We’ll take it on board.”
Hutton was an absentee from the heart of the defence on the Loan Moor Road as Aaron O’Hagan stepped in but the 37-year-old’s move to central defender has coincided with a good run of form for the Ballybofey club.
“I’ll see how everyone else is feeling,” he said when asked if he will return to the first team on the Strokestown Road on Saturday night. “It’s a needs must situtation at the minute with Keith Cowan still out but it’s different than me preaching from the sidelines. It’s a better perspective.”
Longford have started the campaign in excellent form, winning five from six having only dropped points against SD Galway in a 1-1 draw. They are the only undefeated side in the division.
“Longford have made a great start to the season after bringing in some good players like Noel Haverty, Karl Bermingham and Colm James from Shelbourne and Alan Kirby from Sligo Rovers,” Hutton said. “It’ll be a tough game for us against a side that are always hard to beat, especially so this term.”