Teenager Michael Gallagher could be in line to make his league debut for Finn Harps on Friday night as they welcome Bohemians to Finn Park (Kick-off 8pm.)
The Letterkenny man is an option for Ollie Horgan as the manager considers who to bring in as a replacement for Colm Deasy who will serve an automatic one-game ban following his straight red card against Derry City last Friday night.
Gallagher impressed at right back last Monday week in the EA Sports League Cup win over Sligo Rovers and his manager didn’t rule out the possibility of bringing him in.
Add to the fact that Harps have a number of players unavailable because of injury, and Horgan’s options aren’t as generous as he would like.
Raff Cretaro is likely to miss out again after being unavailable for Harps’ last two games because of a groin injury picked up in Waterford.
Mark Timlin was named on the bench for the Derry game but is not thought to be ready for a return to action while striker Sean Boyd and midfielder Harry Ascroft are also out.
On the plus side, Mark Coyle will return after serving his one-game ban following his dismissal in the 3-0 loss at Waterford.
“Michael Gallagher is an option and we will consider him,” Horgan said. “He has been doing really well with us this season. Against Sligo, he carried the ball forward with confidence and you could see that he has pace to get up and down the field.
“He has conducted himself really well since coming into the squad, as have the rest of the young players, so yeah, he is an option.”
For Harps, Friday night’s match is another hugely important game. Still without a league win this season, the feeling is that performances, particularly at home, would suggest that a much needed victory might not be far away.
Despite playing for over an hour with ten men against Derry City last Friday night, Harps played well and were just six minutes away from earning a 1-1 draw. But City, through striker David Parkhouse, struck twice in the closing minutes of a game that will be remembered for so many wrong reasons.
City boss Declan Devine was rightly critical of the antics of some Harps supporters who goaded former Harps player Ciaran Coll who had to be stretchered to a waiting ambulance following the tackle which saw Deasy red-carded.
And as City ran out 3-2 winners, Harps fans watched on as members of City’s backroom team celebrated on the pitch with players and supporters. Making reference to those celebrations, Horgan said after the game that it was like City had won a cup final.
This week, the Harps boss praised the attitude and performance of his players last Friday night, but he didn’t wish to dwell on the incidents that spoiled what was an otherwise decent game
“We seem to have a habit now of having to move on quickly from games,” he said.
“We played with ten men and lost in Waterford and it was the same against Derry. We’d ten players left on the pitch but I thought they were excellent. They got us back in the game when it looked beyond them.
“It’s just disappointing to lose again. It’s not that it was Derry City, or the disallowed goal. And there’s no guarantee that the result would have been any different had it been eleven against eleven. We just need to start getting things right in order to start picking up points.”
For Bohs, tomorrow night’s game marks their second trip to the North West in a week. Last Saturday night they won 2-0 at Sligo Rovers in a game where both teams had players sent off, including Bohs defender Robert Cornwall who will miss tomorrow night’s game as a result.
The result lifted Bohs to second in the table and they now sit eight points behind leaders Shamrock Rovers, although Bohs have two games less played.
At the other end of the table, the picture is a lot gloomier for Harps.
Like Shamrock Rovers, they have played two games more than all the other sides, including Sligo and UCD who are closest to them in the table. They both sit on seven points from their eight games played while Harps have only two points from ten games.
“Obviously we need to start picking up points,” Horgan said this week.
“We have played well in matches and been unfortunate in games, especially at home, not to have taken more points. But at times we don’t make it easy for ourselves.
“Bohs are a good side. They don’t lose many games, Cork are the only side to have beaten them this season, so they will come here with confidence. But we’ve played well at home, and will need another big performance if we’re to take anything from this one.”