Harps conclude home fixtures as champs visit

Finn Harps conclude their home fixtures for the season against champions Athlone Town at Finn Park on Friday night (kick-off 8pm).

Finn Harps conclude their home fixtures for the season against champions Athlone Town at Finn Park on Friday night (kick-off 8pm).

Manager Peter Hutton will welcome back Kevin McHugh and Michael Funston from suspension after the experienced duo missed last Friday’s 3-1 loss at Wexford Youths with one-match bans.

Ciaran Coll, given a straight ed against Drogheda United in the FAI Cup quarter-final is also expected to return, although there was some ambiguity over his suspension, which was initially a two-match one.

“We just need to clear up whether Ciaran is available of not,” Hutton said yesterday.

“Originally we were informed it was an automatic one-match ban and then one additional one but it’s stated unclearly as it now says a one plus two. Hopefully it’ll be cleared up.”

Keith Cowan will definitely miss out after his dismissal at Ferrycarrig Park, while Damien McNulty, who picked up a knee injury during that game, is also likely to be sidelined. Jordan Duffy is a doubt with an ankle problem sustained playing for Harps U-19s.

Looking back, Athlone’s 3-2 win on their last trip to Ballybofey was the turning point in their season.

Roddy Collins’ team had just been dumped out of the FAI by non-league Bluebell United.

However, Athlone have not lost since domestically and have picked up 38 points from their last 14 mathes.

Harps, in contrast, have amassed just eight. So the last time Athlone came down Navenny Road they were two points behind Harps. Now they’re 28 in front with the championship sealed.

“Athlone have it all wrapped up and fair play to them,” Hutton said of Friday’s opponents.

“But all we can do for the match is go out there and try and give as good an account of ourselves as we can ahead of the upcoming winter break.”