Caolan McAleer in action for Greenock Morton
Finn Harps have always managed to attract a fair number of supporters from Co. Tyrone over the years.
But this season, expect a few more to be making the journey across the border from one of our neighbouring counties.
Caolan McAleer, the Omagh native who is one of the new faces at Harps, has revealed how his friends are already planning running a bus to next week’s opening game against Cork City.
“A lot of my mates wouldn’t have seen me playing for five years,” he said.
“My dad only watched me for the first time recently as well. He came and watched us in pre-season.”
McAleer has played his football in Scotland for the past few seasons where he can count Partick Thistle, Airdrie, East Fire and more recently, Greenock Morton, among his former clubs.
Unfortunately injury and a loss of form saw him fall down the pecking order at Morton and a return home beckoned.
“I came here to see if I could start enjoying my football again,” he said of his move to Harps.
“Basically my contract was up in January and I had to make a choice over whether to stay on.
“But I was just being used as a sub, although my aim was to play more regularly. I picked up an injury during the season which set me back a wee bit as well. I was out for six to eight weeks. It was hard to get back into the team, because they were flying.
“I decided to come back home. There were other teams who wanted to keep me in Scotland, but after five years, I think it was time to come back home.”
McAleer did his initial pre-season with Derry City and it was while playing for them in a trial game that he caught the eye of Ollie Horgan.
“I actually played against Harps in one of those games and that’s where Ollie saw me,” McAleer said.
“I played another game for Derry and they (Harps) came and watched me again. Finn Harps were interested in talking to me. I got speaking to them and it got sorted quite quickly.”
McAleer, who is 23 and plays in midfield,, has featured regularly for Harps since joining a month ago and is expected to make his competitive debut against Cork City a week tomorrow.
No doubt there’ll be a few of his friends and family in the Finn Park crowd to see how he gets on.