Finn Harps will once again be without Kevin McHugh and Adam Clarke as they return from their mid-season break and entertain league leaders Longford United at Finn Park on Friday night. (Kick off 7.45 pm)
Both players missed Harps 5-1 away victory over Salthill Devons before the four week break and manager Peter Hutton is going to have to again plan this weekend without leading goalscorer McHugh and right sided midfielder Clarke.
McHugh is serving the final game in a four game ban while Clarke is away and a pre-arranged holiday.
But on the good news front is the return to fitness of attacking midfielder Shane McGinty.
McGinty also missed the trip to Galway with a knee injury, but he has returned to training and is fully fit again and in the squad for tomorrow night’s showdown with the Shannonsiders.
“Kevin has one more game of his four week ban to serve. He won’t be back now until the Limerick game next weekend, while Adam had a holiday booked before he signed and there is not a lot we can do about that,” said manager Peter Hutton.
“The fact that Shane’s (McGinty’s) injury is not as serious as we first feared and is fit for the game softens the blow a bit and I suppose that is one of the advantages of the break. It gives players that are carrying knocks and injuries time to rest and for the injuries to clear up.”
However after his side’s 5-1 thumping of Salthill Devon in their last game before the mid-season break, the Harps boss would be forgiven for having mixed emotions on the break and its timing.
“Its timing might have been better alright and from our point of view there are plusses and minuses. We played well down in Galway and got a very good result and I suppose it would have been nice to have the momentum to build on that win and performance.
“But it was good to get the break too. We had a number of lads carrying knocks and bruises and it gave them time to rest and heal and it was an opportunity for everyone to rest and recharge the batteries.”
Hutton gave his players the first week off before returning to training the following Sunday. They have almost three good weeks training behind them going into tomorrow’s night game.
“We had a good break and a good few of the injuries have cleared up and we are all looking forward to getting back into action on Friday night.
“Longford are the league leaders and one of the form teams in the league. We beat them 3-1 down there in the first game and they will be going all to turn the tables on us this.
“We put in a very good performance down in Longford and hopefully we can repeat it again on Friday night and pick it up where we left off in Galway in our last game.”
New signings Michael Funston from Dungannon Swifts and Mark Soltock from Institute are not available for tomorrow night’s game, They will also have to sit out the following Friday night’s trip to Limerick as they await international clearance and the July transfer window to kick in.