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Kildare test will show how far Tyrone have come, says Harte

Mickey Harte has watched his Tyrone side undergo the transformation from potential relegation candidates to becoming a short-odds promotion bet but he will reserve all judgement until after the all-important clash with Kieran McGeeney’s Kildare on Sunday week.

If the Red Hands last league home game against Antrim failed to pull in the fans — only just over 1,400 fans were at Healy Park Omagh on that occasion — then the visit of the Lily Whites should have the turnstiles clicking merrily.

Kildare, who have lost just once in five outings, are tucked in behind pacesetters Donegal in second place in the Division Two table and Harte believes they will represent a huge test for his much-improved side.

“There is no substitute for working hard and my players put in a huge effort in beating Laois at the weekend,” said Harte.

“We believed that we were better than our first couple of league results when we lost to Derry and Donegal and now that we have three wins in the bag it’s important that we push on from here in our quest for promotion.”

And he adds: “The game against Kildare will help to tell us more about ourselves. I am very happy with the manner in which we have recovered in the league after our bad start but the next two rounds of fixtures are of course crucial to every side.” While Tyrone have been making quiet progress, Kildare boss McGeeney has been finding himself in the headlines following the resignation of county board chairman Pauric Ashe and his confrontation with Meath manager Seamus McEnaney last Sunday when Kildare beat the Royals 1-14 to 1-12.

McGeeney had moved to refute suggestions that he was in any way involved with the departure of Ashe while McEnaney exchanged words with McGeeney having apparently been less than impressed with some aspects of Kildare’s strategy.

McGeeney said: “We are ready for the challenge of facing Tyrone who have shown themselves to be very skillful and resilient in making such a good recovery after their poor start.”

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