By Harry Walsh
A number of young footballers will be playing for contracts when Finn Harps kick off their pre-season programme against Ulster Senior League champions Cockhill Celtic in Buncrana on Saturday afternoon (2pm).
With another game pencilled in against USL runners-up Drumkeen United at the Finn Valley Centre on Wednesday night next, kick-off 7.30pm, there will be more than one opportunity to impress new Harps boss Ollie Horgan before the season gets underway in early March.
A total of 26 players attended the first pre-season session of the year at Diamond Park, Ballyare, on Monday night and while there were a few ‘no shows’ Horgan was quick to look at the positives.
“The lads who were there have shown that they would like a crack at League of Ireland football. We’re up and running and the one thing I can guarantee is that they’ll all get the opportunity to impress in the coming weeks,” he said.
First up is a game against Cockhill Celtic tomorrow afternoon and while few, is any, of the eleven players already signed will feature it will give others, including former Harps players Davitt Walsh, Gareth Harkin and Aaron Harkin, the opportunity to shine together with David Shovlin (Drumkeen United) and Anthony Appiah (Bonagee United).
“We’re still a few players short but we’ll see what comes out of the next few weeks and months,” he said.
Harps have been drawn at home in three of their opening four fixtures of the new season but Horgan doesn’t subscribe to the notion that they’ve been handed an ‘easier’ start that some of their rivals.
“It’s nice to start with a home game but I haven’t looked through the fixture list to be honest, It’s not something that bothers me as we have to play every team three times, home and away,” he said.
While Horgan has added Buncrana man Stephen Cutliffe to his back room team as goalkeeping coach he’s still on the look-out for a second goalkeeper and another one or two faces to join his backroom team.
“We’re up and running and things will become much clearer in the coming weeks,” he said.