FINN HARPS player/manager, Peter Hutton was reluctant to name himself in the starting line-up against Derry City on Friday night but felt he was left with no choice given his club’s current injury plight.
The former ‘Candy Stripes’ captain was ‘bitterly disappointed’ with Derry’s stance regarding Thomas McMonagle’s involvement in the game, insisting the Derry City loanee should’ve been allowed the chance to impress against his parent club.
McMonagle who is on loan at Finn Park until the end of the season was an unused substitute for Friday’s FAI Cup tie as Hutton resisted the temptation to go against Derry City’s wishes.
Having won the FAI Cup with his hometown club on three occasions (1995, 2002 and 2006), Hutton was fully aware of how much the competition means to the Brandywell side and he felt the Derry management were keen to take advantage of his depleted squad.
“Derry simply didn’t want him to play,” said Hutton. “We were very keen to let him play because he’s contracted with us until the end of the season. There’s no option for him to come back to Derry in July so it’s not as if he would’ve been cup-tied.
“Derry made it clear in no uncertain terms that they didn’t want him to play. We didn’t want to be bullied into it but I think we had to be the bigger club and say, ‘if that’s the way you want to go about it then we’ll leave it at that’.
“I don’t feel like it’s a personal decision,” he added. “I can understand they’re looking to progress in the cup so if we have a depleted squad then they can take advantage and so be it - that’s football.
“I’m bitterly disappointing given the fact that we’re down to the bare bones and Thomas was very keen to play. He wants to get another contract at Derry and it was another opportunity for him to impress, but that’s football.”
Harps have now lost six matches on the bounce and Hutton was frustrated at the manner of the opening goal which he believed changed the game.
“Our Achilles heel once again was defending set-pieces and Stephen McLaughlin had a free shot on goal and scored and I think we started feeling a bit sorry for ourselves and we switched off again for the second goal.
“Once the third goal went in the game was over. We have a young team and we got punished for our defensive mistakes. We have to pick ourselves up now. We’re a very young, inexperienced team. We had six or seven first teamers out and I was really happy with the application of the players. I couldn’t fault any one of them,” he concluded.