McHugh has been missing since picking up a hamstring injury in the opening game of the season against Waterford United at Finn Park. However, he came through an hour unscathed in Harps’ Ulster Senior League game against Swilly Rovers last weekend and will be included in the panel for the visit of Shels this weekend.
Shels are the runaway leaders of the Division and currently have an eight point advantage at the top of the pile despite the season still being three games away from the half-way mark.
While Harps have picked up four points in their last two outings, team manager Ollie Horgan is well aware of the task that faces his side on Friday.
“Shelbourne are top of our league by a distance,” said Horgan. “They have great attacking flair in Dylan Connolly, Lee Murtagh and Jordan Keegan while Keith Quinn pulls the strings in the middle of the field for them. Maybe more importantly, defensively they have conceded very few goals. A very difficult game is ahead of us on Friday but we are looking forward to it.”
While there is good news on the return of McHugh for Friday, Horgan will have to plan without the suspended Caoimhin Bonner while Ciaran Coll is a doubt after he picked up a knock to the ribs in the game in Galway last weekend.
Harps have a poor recent record against Shelbourne, and haven’t beaten the Dublin side since 2007. Since then, there have been ten meetings of which two have finished in draws, with Shelbourne winning the other eight.