The Finn Harps cruciate crisis has struck again with the news Blain Curtis is now the third of the club’s attacking players to be ruled out for the rest of the campaign.
Curtis hobbled off in the 1-0 home loss at the hands of Waterford United a fortnight and had his knee scanned on Friday night in Dublin only to learn his season was over. The St Johnston dweller now faces a similar timeframe on the sidelines as both Stephen O’Donnell and Hugh Carlin.
The news is a further blow to manager Peter Hutton as he readies his side for their last fixture before the mid-season break. Harps face SD Galway at Terryland Park on Friday night (kick-off 7.45pm).
Kevin McHugh and Adam Clarke are currently serving their respective penultimate and final matches of the four and three-game bans they picked up in the 1-0 loss at Wexford Youths hands. Another potential frontman is also only touch and go for Galway, with Shane McGinty having his medial ligaments assessed. He missed the 4-0 FAI Cup loss last Friday at the Brandywell against Derry City, a loss that was Harps’ sixth in succession.
“It was very similar in many ways to the League Cup game (which Harps also lost 4-0),” Hutton said this week. “We didn’t do badly for half-an-hour and had a few chances of our own but didn’t take them.
“Goals change games, though, and once again we were culpable of poor defending at a pet-piece that left Stephen McLaughlin unmarked. We were 2-0 down at half-time but rallied a little bit at the start of the second half. However, Derry’s third goal knocked the heart out of us. Looking back, there were a couple of positives and the priority here is the league and not the cup.
“Losing Blain this week is a blow to himself and a blow to the club. It’s bad news just like we had with Stephen and with Hugh. When it rains it pours. Hopefully all will work out for Blain with the operation but we will not see him again this season. As for Shane, I would say that he’s very doubtful but we’ll see how he us is this week.”
Paul McVeigh was the lone striker last weekend in Derry and Hutton faces a similar selection headache this weekend at Terryland Park against an SD Galway side who had two men sent off as Harps laboured to a 2-0 win against on Good Friday.
“It was difficult to know what to make of that game,” Hutton recalled. “They were a little bit dishevelled by that and it had a bit of a knock-on effect on us. It was tough for SD Galway to give a good account of themselves with only nine men but I’m sure they will want to give a much better account of themselves on Friday at Terryland Park.”