Peter Hutton believes the club’s supporters could have a major part to play in Finn Harps’ hopes of upsetting the odds against Drogheda Utd.
The Harps manager says he has been delighted with the support and messages of good-will that have been coming in ahead of Friday night’s quarter final.
“That’s been brilliant, but what we really need is people through the gates to get behind the team,” he said.
“I was speaking to my father during the week and he was recalling the club’s success when they won the cup back in ‘74. He still remembers the crowds that would be there for home games and how big a lift that give to the players.
“It’s no different all these years later. It’s a massive game for the club and we’re all looking forward to it. Hopefully now the fans come out in their numbers and get behind us.”
Tomorrow night’s meeting will be the first cup tie between Harps and Drogheda since their 2nd round clash back in 2003 which went the way of the Co. Louth men.
The clubs have met four times in the cup with Harps managing to win just one of those games.
The Premier Division side are strong favourites to advance this weekend but the feeling among the Finn Park faithful is that Harps, on their day, are good enough to make home advantage count.
Hutton however, will need his strongest squad available and this week, he was sweating on the availability of Kevin McHugh and James Doherty.
McHugh missed last weekend’s defeat in Longford because he was unwell. He didn’t train on Monday night - a session during which James Doherty had to pull up because of a quad problem.
“We’re keeping our fingers crossed for both Kevin and James,” Peter said.
Tommy McMonagle and Johnny Bonner are also doubts for the tie but it’s thought both should be okay.
On the plus side, Michael Funston will be available again after missing last weekend’s game because of work commitments.
Hutton watched Drogheda United draw with Sligo Rovers two weeks ago and was impressed by the quality of their side. That game ended in a 1-1 draw and Drogheda lost their derby meeting with Dundalk last weekend by a goal to nil.
He listed out a string of what he called ‘quality players’ and referred in particular to the Brennan brothers, Ryan and Gavin; David Cassidy, Declan O’Brien and Paul O’Connor.
“To be honest though, we have to worry more about our own side,” he said.
“We know it’s going to be a very tough match for us but it’s a cup quarter final and anything can happen.”
Harps’ last appearance in the FAI Cup quarter finals was in the 2002/03 season when they lost in a replay away to Cork City. Should Friday night’s game end in a draw, the replay will take place at Hunky Dorys Park on Monday evening at 7.45pm.
Friday night’s match kicks off at 8pm.