'Higgsy' ready for new Harps challenge


'Higgsy' ready for new Harps challenge

Paul Hegarty has insisted there's no reason why Finn Harps can't go on to secure their safety in the Premier Division this season.

The former manager has returned to Finn Park after being appointed assistant manager to Ollie Horgan.

He told the Democrat that he's seen enough positives from Finn Harps to suggest they are good enough to stay clear of the relegation zone.

Hegarty also spoke of his admiration of Ollie Horgan as a manager and said with half the season already gone, he might not have taken the job under another manager.

“I'd probably give most people a dig out if they needed help, but the timing wouldn't be the best,” he said.

“But I'm happy to give it a go with Ollie. He's a good fellow and he's got a damn good attitude towards the game.”

Hegarty replaces Gavin Dykes who was recently appointed manager at Ballinamalard United. The new No. 2 insisted his return is a short-term arrangement to the end of the season.

Hegarty famously guided Harps to promotion to the Premier Division in 2007.

More recently, he's had spells with Derry City and this season, he has been a regular at both the Brandywell and Finn Park.

Given that he's missed only one of Harps' home fixtures this season (against Crumlin United) he's well up to speed on the players he'll be working with.

He insisted the squad is good enough to maintain their position ahead of Wexford Youths, Bray and Longford.

“I would imagine so,” he said. “I have seen enough of them to suggest that they should be okay. You could still get a bit more out of a fair number of them, but there is plenty of quality there.”

Hegarty, who attended his first training with Harps on Monday night at the Finn Valley Centre, said the recent win over Sligo Rovers was one of the team's best performances he has seen for a while.

“Mind you, of all the matches I've been to this season, I struggled to see a decent game,” he said.

“But the game against Derry in the Brandywell was good and to be fair, the Sligo game (at Finn Park) was also pretty decent.

“Most people probably knew that it was important to get a good start.

“When the pitches dried up and the pace of the game lifted a bit, things got a bit more difficult, which is only to be expected.”

The Ballindrait man played 79 games for Harps back in the early '90s. His return to the dug-out comes just over seven years since he stepped down as manager in May 2009 when he was replaced by James Gallagher.

Hegarty's first game as No. 2 will be on Saturday week, June 25th, when Harps travel to play bottom-of-the-table Longford Town.

Harps then have a free weekend before their next home match against Galway United on Friday, July 9th.