Igiehon hopes Leeds inspiration will help Harps to deliver

Like his local favourites Leeds United, Benny Igiehon has success on his mind for 2020, albeit on a different scale.
Igiehon hopes Leeds inspiration will help Harps to deliver
Finn Harps' Benny Igiehon: “Even though the fans won’t be at matches, we’ll feel their passion in our hearts. It's up to us players to work hard now and deliver.” Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Like his local favourites Leeds United, Benny Igiehon has success on his mind for 2020, albeit on a different scale.

The striker, born and raised in Beeston close to Elland Road, will lead the line for Ollie Horgan’s Finn Harps when the resume their campaign behind closed doors at Shamrock Rovers on Saturday.

Igiehon had just made his debut when Covid-19 disrupted the season in March, offering him unplanned extra time to discover the latest base of his nomadic career in County Donegal.

While his inaction has stretched to four months, Leeds restarted in mid-June and completed their mission of sealing promotion to the Premier League. Igiehon was just 10 when they last tasted life in the top-flight.

“I couldn’t get home from Ballybofey during lockdown to see my family but everyone has been going crazy there since they clinched promotion,” said the attacker, who scored twice for Sligo Rovers in his previous League of Ireland stint.

“I’m a bit of an Arsenal fan too, so I don’t know how that will work next season when they play each other, but I’m delighted Leeds are back in the Premier League.

"From where I live, we can hear the roars of the stadium just down the hill. I would have gone to see them play and had a few friends at the club.

“I’d know first-team player Kalvin Phillips from him getting involved in our annual game at the local astro pitch.

"He's a local Leeds lad who has done really well for the team, showing his qualities in the past two seasons.

“With each extra responsibility he's been given, Kalvin has done a great job. He’s very athletic and can put a tackle in when he needs to.”

Having observed the hometown celebrations from afar, he’s confident their feat can inspire to enjoy his own personal triumph.

Survival, rather than silverware, is the priority for pre-season relegation favourites Harps in the blitz of 14 remaining fixtures.

"I've known the manager Harps Ollie Horgan for years and sent him a message saying 'hey, Ollie, I'm available, can we set something up?” Igiehon explains about his move to Harps.

"Ollie's a very, very cool man and the thing I like about him is that he's very easy to talk to.

"You can have a good conversation with him. What I like about him is his honesty. You can rely on him to give you the support that you need.

"Himself and his assistant Paul Hegarty put in a lot of work behind the scenes and that can be seen from the good squad that he has built.

“The lockdown gave me time to learn the history of the area and the club.

“Even though they won’t be at matches, we’ll feel their passion in our hearts. It's up to us players to work hard now and deliver.”

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