Sean Houston gave an early indication of what he can bring to the Finn Harps side when he featured against his former club UCD in one of his team’s pre-season friendlies last month.
He struck two goals on a day when his performance was definitely one of the highlights in a 4-2 defeat.
The strapping Letterkenny man has scored goals where ever he’s played - a trait that not every midfielder brings to their game.
He’s now back for his second spell at Finn Park and his arrival could well turn out to be one of Horgan’s better pieces of business this year.
“We haven’t probably had the best pre-season in terms of our matches,” Houston said.
“We got beat a few times but I think our fitness is improving. At this stage, it’s not about winning games, it’s about getting your fitness up in preparation for the first game against Derry.”
Fitness has often been a dreaded word for the 26 year-old. He’s had more than his fair share of injury problems during his senior career and it’s an issue that has hampered his progress in the game.
Thankfully, he’s happy to report, that all’s good on that front at present.
“Yeah, thank God, I’m injury-free,” he said.
“I have had a lot of injuries over this last few years. But thankfully so far, things are going well. I’m feeling good.”
Houston made his debut in senior football when he signed for Harps from Ollie Horgan’s Fanad United in 2009.
He made 14 appearances, and managed four goals from midfield, before signing for UCD on a soccer scholarship. From there he went to Bray Wanderers and in his first season at the Carlisle Grounds, was deployed as a left back.
His next club was Derry City and in his first year there in 2013, made 15 league appearances as they finished fourth in the Premier Division.
He didn’t sign for the following season, but was back at Derry by July 2014 and at the end of that campaign, he came off the bench for Derry in their FAI Cup final defeat to St. Pat’s.
Last June, he opted to leave Derry again and headed off to the US where he stayed until October.
Looking ahead to the latest chapter in his senior career, Houston said his experience of playing in the Premier Division, and of playing under Horgan before, should stand to him.
“I’ve been about the Airtricity League for five or six years so hopefully that will stand me in good stead,” he said.
“And I’ve been with Ollie since throughout secondary school. I was with him at Fanad. I know him well and I know what he expects of us.”
He added: “I met him a few times over Christmas and I was pretty optimistic about signing. It definitely meant a lot that Ollie was managing Harps.”
Houston’s versatility has been well documented but he insists centre midfield is where he likes best.
“That was always my favourite position growing up,” he said. “But yeh, I can play in several positions.
“We have seven or eight central midfielders there now, that’s just the way things go. There’s a lot of competition there, but you just have to train well to earn your place.”
Just where Horgan plans to play Housten, only the manager can say at this stage. However, the Letterkenny man is likely to be included in the starting eleven against his former club on Friday night. He feels it’s important that Harps get a good result.
“We have some very tough games and the first three or four games are against full time teams,” he said.
“That’s the way it’s going to be this year. There are a lot of full time teams in the league. So games at home are going to be very important, including this game against Derry City. We’d like to get a result in that one.”
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