Manager Peter Hutton looks set to follow in his father’s footsteps and don the blue of Harps, while Stephen O’Donnell and JP Gallagher are also pushing for starts.
However, Harps will again have to plan again without the injured Packie Mailey and James Doherty while there are doubts over the fitness of defender Keith Cowan and striker Kevin McHugh.
Should either fail to make it, Hutton is the likely replacement for Cowan while O’Donnell would start in place of McHugh. With Marc Brolly also out – he is getting married – it should also mean a start from JP Gallagher at left-back with Ciaran Coll moving up to Brolly’s left-sided midfield role.
During the week, all three of the new faces got a run-out in a friendly against Bonagee United in Letterkenny. Harps ran out easy 6-0 winners, with O’Donnell grabbing a hat-trick and Hutton also amongst the goals.
“Stephen was very strong on the ball and took his chances very well but probably still needs more games before he finds peak form,” said Hutton.
“We’ve lacked that wee bit of presence when maybe we’re under the cosh for somebody to hold the ball up and take the pressure off. He definitely gives us that dimension and will prove a great addition to the squad.
“It was an ideal workout, in regards getting players more game-time and some of the lads that haven’t featured much extra minutes under their belts.
“JP came off at half-time as a precaution, we didn’t want to take any risks, but he’s fitting in well. It was also good to get another run out for myself. It helps give me a better understanding of what we’re good at and where we might need improving,” he said.
Harps lost their first match in three last week when Cork City left Finn Park with a 2-0 victory. It was a game Hutton felt Harps never really got going in.
“We were very flat against Cork, we were more disappointed in our own performance. We just felt like we didn’t do ourselves any justice. Too many balls were going sideways and back. We didn’t really trouble them in attack, while the goals we conceded were too soft. It’s something we have to learn from”, he said.
So, onwards to Longford and to a venue where Harps have struggled in recent times.
“They are a hard-working and very well-organised side”, said Hutton ahead of the trip to the midlands. “They don’t give many goals away, especially at home, so we know it will be a tough game.
“But, we’ll be quietly confident that we’ll have learned something from the two games we played against them recently (in the cup). We obviously drew with them down there in the first game and we felt the second game was one of our better performances.”