Rafter boost ahead of visit of Longford Town

SSE AIRTRICITY PREMIER DIVISION

Rafter boost ahead of visit of Longford Town

Finn Harps manager, Ollie Horgan, said the inclusion of Michael Rafter was one of the plus points from Tuesday night's cup win over Cockhill Celtic.

The Co. Tipperary native made his first team debut and got 45 minutes under his belt as he continues his recovery from long-term injury.

He could be in line to feature again this Saturday night as Harps welcome Longford Town to Finn Park.

Even in the short time he was on the pitch, Rafter showed enough quality to suggest he could have an important role to play for Harps, if he gets back to full fitness.

“Michael is coming back from a very serious ankle injury,” Horgan said.

“He’s had a history of operations on his ankle and that’s his first competitive run-out for possibly two and a half years.

“He played pre-season with Cork and scored two against us two and a half years ago. He suffered an injury in pre-season with Cork then and that’s him getting back now.

“He has a long way to go and please God, with a little bit of luck, he’ll stay injury free and he’ll play a part further down the line.”

Horgan added: “There’s no problem with his ability, the problem is his fitness.

“That was a positive, we got a half out of him. He came through it without any knocks.

“He’s a good lad, with a good attitude and he's great to have around.”

Horgan, while disappointed with his team's overall performance, was quickly turning his attentions to Harps' next assignment. They host Longford Town in the SSE Premier Division on Saturday night.

“The positives of tonight, there weren’t that many,” he said.

“We have a few knocks and bruises but it looks like we’ve nothing too serious which is a positive in the way things have been going in the first couple of weeks.

“While we have only a number of days to recover to Saturday night and while there are lads in there struggling a little bit, there are no major injuries in there.”

Asked about the decision by the league's management committee to allow the result to stand from Saturday night's abandoned game in Sligo, the Harps boss said common sense prevailed in the end.

“You’re talking about three minutes left in the game,” he said.

“It wasn’t my decision to make it a draw, obviously the head of the league called that. Either way, we’d have had to have gone with the decision one way or another.

“They’ve decided to give it a point each which is probably common sense in my eyes.”