Athlone have also lost their last three fixtures and the sides meet at Finn Park this evening (kick-off 8.00pm).
Harps currently sit bottom of the First Division pile without a victory to their name in 2011. And after watching his new side lose their first two games against Wexford Youths and Mervue United, Peter Hutton again looked on as they went down 1-0 to Limerick in Jackman Park last Friday.
“It was the manner that we conceded that was again very disappointing,” said Hutton.
“It was very sloppy defending from a set-piece where your man has nipped in and let go by a defender to head home unchallenged.
“It was something we spoke about at half-time that the only way they would score would be from a set-piece, so it was very frustrating then the way they got it.”
Result aside, Hutton was pleased to see that his team is starting to improve and feels the first win will come soon.
“The performance wasn’t too bad, we didn’t start the best but as the game progressed we started to play much better. We had one great chance when Kevin (McHugh) went through one-on-one and opted for power instead of maybe going for placement.
“We couldn’t fault the players’ efforts once again, there were positives to take. Young Aaron McElwee came in for his first start and looked unfazed while Gareth Harkin returned from a couple of weeks through injury to get a good hour or so under his belt.”
So is Thursday’s game against Athlone a must win game for his side?
“Every game is a must-win as far as I’m concerned”, said Hutton. “We’re not really looking at the positions in the league table, we’re more concerned with seeing an improvement in the performances and getting everything right on the pitch first of all.
“We’re still trying to get a feel for things and seeing where we can improve the squad come the transfer window. Every game is going to take on more of an onus in terms of us trying to get that first win. Hopefully, we can get it very soon and get that monkey off our backs, allowing us to relax somewhat,” he said.
As Harps look to end a seven game losing streak, they will hope to continue their unbeaten run against Athlone Town at Finn Park. Athlone have failed to register a victory in the last twenty outings in Ballybofey – a run that stretches back to October 1992.
On the team front, Gary Whoriskey is back in training again, but Thursday’s game will come too soon for him. Conor O’Grady (ankle) and James Doherty (groin) will again miss out.
Injured: Gary Whoriskey (knee), Conor O’Grady (ankle), James Doherty (groin).
Form Guide (last six league games)
Finn Harps: L-L-L-L-L-L (0 pts)
Athlone Town: W-W-W-L-L-L (9 pts)
Recent games at home to Athlone Town
26-Aug-06 – Drew 0-0 (FAI Cup)
29-Jun-07 – Won 2-0 (First Division)
02-Nov-07 – Drew 1-1 (First Division)
18-Jul-09 – Drew 1-1 (First Division)
17-Apr-10 – Drew 0-0 (First Division)
01-Oct-10 – Drew 2-2 (First Division)
Finn Harps Goalscorers 2011
Kevin McHugh – 3
Marc Brolly – 2
Gareth Harkin – 1
Finn Harps Results 2011 (Harps goalscorer in brackets)
20th May 2011 – FD – Limerick 1-0 Finn Harps
13th May 2011 – FD – Mervue United 2-1 Finn Harps (Brolly)
5th May 2011 – FD – Finn Harps 0-1 Wexford Youths
29th April 2011 – FD – Shelbourne 1-0 Finn Harps
22nd April 2011 – FD – Finn Harps 1-2 Longford Town (Brolly)
19th April 2011 – FD – Athlone Town 1-0 Finn Harps
15th April 2011 – FD – Cork City 5-0 Finn Harps
8th April 2011 – FD – Finn Harps 0-0 Salthill Devon
28th March 2011 – EA – Mervue United 1-0 Finn Harps
25th March 2011 – FD – Waterford United 1-0 Finn Harps
18th March 2011 – FD – Finn Harps 2-2 Monaghan United (McHugh 2)
4th March 2011 – FD – Finn Harps 2-2 Limerick (McHugh, Harkin)