Lowly Harps could do with a Good Friday

Struggling Finn Harps are suffering from something of a confidence crisis but can at least be buoyed with the news they have an almost fully fit squad to choose from tomorrow night when Longford Town visit (8pm).

Struggling Finn Harps are suffering from something of a confidence crisis but can at least be buoyed with the news they have an almost fully fit squad to choose from tomorrow night when Longford Town visit (8pm).

Left-back Ciaran Coll is likely to return having missed Tuesday night’s 1-0 loss at Athlone Town with a knee injury. The St Johnston native was the recipient of a dangerous challenge from Vinny Sullivan at Turner’s Cross when Harps were walloped 5-0 by Cork City last Friday.

Another man who missed out in the midlands on Tuesday was winger Marc Brolly, who was serving the second of his two-match suspension having been given a straight red card in Harps’ last home game, against Salthill Devon. Should that duo put themselves into contention, then the only absentee will be long-termer Garbhan Friel.

Both were missing from another abject showing from the Ballybofey side on Tuesday when Athlone’s Paul Danagher scored the only goal of the game nine minutes before half-time. The first 45 minutes was poor to say the least and although things marginally improved after the interval, Harps couldn’t find a way through and now go into their seventh league game without so much as a victory.

At the back, the manager made reference to the individual errors that have hindered progress in both this season and last, while the books are not being balanced up front as there hasn’t been goal in five.

“All the goals we are conceding of late have been coming from mistakes and after that happened again against Athlone on Tuesday, the heads went down,” Gallagher said. “It’s criminal the way we are conceding goals. I have been critical of the way we conceded goals for some time now but we are not taking chances when they come our way. There’s a nervousness there and when you combine the two, there is a lack of confidence.”

Longford Town have made an enterprising start to the campaign and are grabbing the headlines for more reasons than solely the signing of former Manchester United and Newcastle United winger Keith Gillespie. Last weekend’s 1-0 win thanks to Don Cowan’s goal at their home venue affectionately known as the Flansiro against Waterford United showed their capabilities as they have moved to fourth place in the standings on 12 points.

“Longford is just as important to us as every other game,” Gallagher continued. “After we lost to Cork and Athlone had a good win over Waterford, you could visibly see the difference in the attitude of the two sides on Tuesday. They were buzzing and we weren’t.

“Against Longford, we have to be focused on playing without fear. Maybe we are putting too much emphasis on not conceding silly goals and that’s putting us under pressure as well as having an impact up front. We are looking for the whole package this Friday. We haven’t been doing enough to date.

“People have constantly been saying we are better than we have been showing and we have the players here, but for me the talking in the dressing room has to stop and it has to be done on the pitch.”