FINN HARPS MANAGER Ollie Horgan says that Premier Division survival this season would better the achievement of staying in the top flight in 2016.
As things stand, three teams will be relegated in 2017 to allow for the switch to a ten-team Premier Division for the 2018 campaign.
The sands of change have been flowing in Finn Park in recent weeks.
Club captain Kevin McHugh retired at the end of the season and centre-back Keith Cowan is facing a season out injured, with the likes of Richard Brush, Tony McNamee and Ryan Curran moving on.
Harps confirmed the signing of Galway United centre-back Killian Cantwell earlier yesterday to add to the recent capture of Danny Morrissey from Cork City.
Cantwell and Morrisey were present at a public meeting last night along with Ethan Boyle, who has again returned to the club for a second season in the blue and white.
Those three players will be full-time this year.
“When we went up there was great drive and energy and everyone wanted to stay and be a part of it,” Horgan told Donegal Sport Hub in an interview.
“Some of the lads found it tough and it took a toll. It is what it is. It would be ideal if we were full-time, but that’s not the case.
“We have six-and-a-half weeks to get it right. We’re hoping to get a couple more, but it’s easier said than done.
“We’ll need them fully fit and the group going well.”
Harry Doherty was recruited from Cockhill Celtic and Jonny Bonner arrives back to Harps having been at Wexford Youths last season.
Sean Houston has not yet put pen to paper and Horgan says: “Sean is back training with us. It’s work-related: Can he give the full commitment. We’re hopeful that he can and will.”
Adam Hanlon and Dave Scully won’t be available, although Horgan hasn’t completely given up the ghost.
The Harps boss said: “There are a hell of a lot of journeys around the country, meeting players three or four times where they don’t sign and that’s the difficult part of it.”
Harps will play their first pre-season game away to Athlone Town on Saturday, January 28.
Horgan has planned games against the Inishowen League at Maginn Park on Tuesday, January 31, Longford Town on February 4th and Institute on February 7th.
Harps will also play Shelbourne on the week before their season starts at the end of February against Cork City.