McHugh back as Harps welcome Waterford

Harps captain Kevin McHugh returns from suspension and will go straight into the starting 11 for tomorrow night’s visit of Waterford United to Finn Park (kick off 7.45pm).

The striker was sent off in last Friday night’s cup meeting with Longford Town at Flancare Park and served an automatic one game ban in Monday night’s replay.

Director of Football, Felix Healy confirmed McHugh’s inclusion and said there will be one or maybe two other changes from Monday night’s defeat.

“I’ve a few options there.” said Healy after watching his team defeat Letterkenny Rovers in a friendly at Leckview Park on Tuesday evening.

“I’ve watched some of these boys in training but I’ve not seen them play yet. So from that respect, it was a very useful game for us. JP Gallagher has played and Sean McCarron has played and overall, it went well.”

McCarron was among the scorers as Harps ran out 3-0 winners. The side featured only a handful of first team regulars including James Doherty, who looks to have recovered from a troublesome groin injury and Gary Whoriskey.

Doherty might well be in Healy’s mind as he decides on his starting 11 ahead of this weekend’s game. And while Harps made an early exit from the FAI Ford Cup on Monday night, Healy said there were plenty of positives to take from the last few weeks.

“There are a few things that have definitely improved. We don’t look like conceding too many goals and our work-rate has been pretty good. We’ve finished games very strongly – even on Monday night, Longford were out on their feet and had changed their formation in the second half because our boys were so on top.

“The Waterford game is going to be another difficult challenge but when you think about it, the games that we’ve lost over the last while – individual mistakes have cost us. Overall, our shape has been very good and the team has been playing at a higher tempo so the signs are good.”

Meanwhile with the July transfer window just three weeks away, Healy insists he’s not looking forward to having to make some hard decisions when it comes to his squad.

“There are players here who I would like to stay but unfortunately some of them will have to be let go because we’ve got to bring players in. That’s the nature of the game and it’s unfortunate.”

The visit of Waterford will be Harps’ first home Saturday night fixture and is the first of only two league games scheduled this month (Harps are away to Salthill Devon on June 25th).