BY CHRIS MCNULTY
KEVIN McHugh has signed for another season at Finn Harps – and the experienced striker hopes he can shoot the club to a promotion challenge in 2014.
McHugh and midfielder Michael Funston have signed new deals to keep them at Finn Park until the end of next season, having spoken to the new manager, Ollie Horgan, over the last week.
2014 will be McHugh’s thirteenth at the Ballybofey club, for whom he has scored 172 goals in 364 appearances.
He will be 34 by the time the new season rolls around, but is excited by the challenge ahead.
McHugh believes that Harps must narrow their focus for 2014.
“We need to take it more game-by-game and sort of split the season into small sections rather than simply looking at the end game,” he said.
“We need to take it step-by-step and just amass as many points as we can.
“That other nonsense, like shouting that we’re going to win the League, won’t be mentioned this year, but of course I’d love to get the club back up challenging, where I feel the club should be.”
Last Tuesday, Horgan was announced as the new Harps boss. At his unveiling on the Tuesday night at the Villa Rose Hotel in Ballybofey, McHugh was among the attendance.
“I just went to show support to Ollie,” said the Killea man.
“It was something I wanted to do, whoever got it. We, as players, need to be behind whoever is in charge.
“Ollie’s appointment came as a surprise to a lot of people, but he has been involved in football for a long time and is very adept at managing players and managing situations.
“Something else a lot of people wouldn’t know about Ollie is that his knowledge of the First Division is quite vast. He has a really good knowledge of teams having scouted for a few clubs and his contacts are excellent too.”
And McHugh has been impressed by how Galway native Horgan, the former Fanad United boss, has hit the ground running. He said: “He has been really enthusiastic and his work-rate is quite something. If the players can bring some of that to the table then it’ll be a damned good starting point for the new season.”
James Doherty, who also attended Horgan’s first press conference, is already under contract for 2014, as is left-back Ciaran Coll and both have committed themselves to Horgan’s Harps.
Funston, meanwhile, will enter his tenth campaign as a Harps player. The former Bonagee United midfielder has appeared in 235 games for Harps and is coming off a consistent campaign in 2013.
As Horgan puts his jigsaw together he’s started by inserting two of the more solid pieces.