Monday 22 January 2018

Harte: I'm not looking forward to dropping players from league squad

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte (SPORTSFILE)
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte (SPORTSFILE)

Mickey Harte insists that he's not looking forward to the difficult decisions he will be forced to make over the next couple of weeks.

The Tyrone boss must cut his squad ahead of the start of the National League, and that means delivering disappointing news to some of his players. Seven new faces were called up ahead of the Dr McKenna Cup, while others were drafted in during the latter part of last season.

All have shown potential, but in some cases that may not be enough to secure a place in the 2016 Red Hand squad.

"It's always difficult. It's very easy to invite players in to a panel, but it's very difficult to ask them not to stay," said Harte.

"So that's always a big challenge, and it doesn't matter what the level of competition is like, it's a job no-one likes doing in management.

"But unfortunately because there's a certain number of constraints that have to be placed upon us, those decisions have to be made.

"The players are making that difficult for us, but that's where we are."

Through five games in the O Fiaich and McKenna Cups, various newcomers have made a compelling case for inclusion, the latest of them defender Hugh Pat McGeary, who won the man of the match award in Wednesday evening's win over Antrim.

"That's very encouraging for us, that so many of the new players are really actually putting their hand up to say, 'I want to be here'," said the Tyrone supremo

Harte expects Sunday's McKenna Cup semi-final against Fermanagh to be highly competitive, given the quality of the Erne county's performances in their group, which they won in impressive fashion with a 100 per cent run.

"I know Fermanagh are competitive, and when they're playing Tyrone, they are always competitive. They are never a bit fazed by what division Tyrone might be in and what they might be in."

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