FINN Harps have added three new players to the squad which will hope to finish the 2013 season on a high and team boss, Peter Hutton, has also said goodbye to another three individuals.
Defender, Marty Owens, arrives at Finn Park on loan for the remainder of the 2013 season from north-west neighbours, Sligo Rovers; Shane Buchanan, who was a member of Harps youth teams in the past, joins from Ulster Senior League side Fanad United while Greencastle native, Mathew Henry, is the third new arrival having come from Derry City.
And going the other way are Stephen O’Donnell, Hugh Carlin and Chris McBride with the Donegal club having extended its thanks to all three wishing them well for their future careers.
Meanwhile, after last weekend much needed victory over Wexford Youths in Ballybofey, Harps now face a tough trip to new leaders of the First Division, Athlone Town, this evening, the Midlanders now managed by Roddy Collins. (7.45 p.m.)
Indeed, Hutton heaped praise on the Dubliner for what he has achieved with Athlone so far this season.
“Full credit to Athlone in that they have shown enormous consistency throughout their league campaign resulting in them taking top spot coming into the business end of the season.,” declared Hutton.
“The fact that they were able to sign so many experienced players from the Premier Division has certainly helped them, so we will face a stern test on Friday night.”
But Hutton was happy that his chargers got back to winning ways last weekend after seven games without a win.
“It was very important for the team to get back to winning ways. The boys knew going into the game that a win was a must if we are to mount a serious challenge to get back into the promotion mix, so I was particularly delighted for them that they responded in the right manner following the disappointment of losing to Mervue.”
Although coming off the back of a poor run, Harps are six points off a play-off spot – with nine games remaining and a good run could see the side back in promotion hunt.
“There is still a lot to play for given that most of our games are six pointers because we’re involved in a league with so few teams. If you are winning matches then you are not just adding to your own tally, but you are also reducing the points of those around you in the table.”
Harps go into tonight’s game with doubts hanging over the fitness of Michael Doherty (shoulder) and Paul McVeigh (muscle injury) while Damien McNulty (foot) remains out. Top scorer Sean McCarron could be available.
In earlier meetings both ended in victories for Athlone. At Lissywollen a Garbhan Coughlan’s goal was the difference while in June at Finn Park the visitors won by the odd goal in five.