FOR the first time in ten years, Finn Harps will take their place in the quarter-finals of the FAI Cup tonight, with Premier Division Drogheda making the trip to Ballybofey. (8 p.m.)
And with Peter Hutton’s side the only First Division representatives in the competition, he is hopeful of causing a shock.
Indeed, Hutton has claimed that all the pressure will be on Mick Cooke’s “Boynesiders” who, he added, will be considered “red hot favourites” to progress to the semi-finals.
However, he feels his side iscapable of causing an upset.
“It will certainly be a tough game as Drogheda are a very good Premier Division team who have been enjoying a very good run recently,” said Hutton.
“They have a physical presence but they also have quality in their squad , so we’ll have to be at our best if we are to get a favourable result,” he added.
With Harps now out of the running for promotion from the First Division, Hutton knows that a victory on Friday night would certainly give everyone associated with the Donegal club a significant boost.
“Our inconsistency has cost us dearly this year in our league campaign but you must also remember that for a lot of these young players this is their first experience of senior football.
“The First Division is a very, very tough and uncompromising league but in the big games, we seemed to aquit outselves well and, hopefully, that will be the case on Friday night”
“It’s an opportunity for our players to show what they are capable of against some of the best players in the country. We will try to enjoy the experience and we hold no fear when facing a Premier Division opponent.
“On our day we can be more than a match for any team irrespective of what division they play in.”
The Harps boss has appealed to the Donegal and North-West public to come out and support his side tonight, in an effort to make it a night to remember.
In fact, he would dearly like to relive the atmopshere when his dad, Peter snr., represented the club when winning this trophy back in the Harps team of 1974.
“The atmosphere generated by a good crowd can prove to be a massive influence,” continued Hutton.
“ If the players are to be at their best, then a vociferous and passionate attendance is vitally important.
“My father was lucky enough to have won this competition in 1974 with Harps and he still speaks fondly of the atmosphere of the crowds then and the part they played in that cup success.
“Hopefully, we will see people, young and old, making the effort to support us on what’s a big night for the club.”