DROGHEDA UNITED v BOHEMIANS
Saturday March 25th, United Park
Please note earlier kick-off time of 5.30pm
Keith Long has told his players “to make the jersey their own” as they look to extend their unbeaten league run to four.
The Gypsies were dealt a blow this week with the news that star striker Dinny Corcoran will be out of action for three to six weeks with an MCL (knee) injury.
Corcoran, who has five league goals to his name already this season, was one of three enforced substitutions in the 1-1 draw against Galway United last Friday.
Georgie Poynton and Derek Pender were also forced off through illness and a hamstring strain respectively, but both are available for Friday’s trip to United Park.
Long said: “Seven points from three games was a good return, but three games in eight days took their toll on the players.
“I think that showed in our performance last Friday. After two very good wins, we looked a little bit laboured against Galway and we didn’t do enough to get the victory.”
Corcoran’s absence puts another strain on a squad that is already missing long-term absentees Eoin Wearen (cruciate) and Ismahil Akinade (surgery to remove spleen).
Long said: “It’s far from ideal being without Dinny. We are very stretched in that position already and to lose Dinny, particularly in the form that he’s in, is a big blow.
“But we have players who can play up front like Kaleem Simon and Jamie Doyle. It’s an opportunity for others to come into the team and make the jersey their own.”
After two defeats at the start of the season to Derry City and Shamrock Rovers, Bohs have been buoyed with two wins and a draw from their last three outings.
But continuing that form will be tough against one of the most experienced management teams in the league and a squad that contains six former Bohemians.
Long added: “Drogheda is a difficult place to go. I’ve enormous respect for Pete Mahon and John Gill and the work they’ve done.
“They’ve been around the league for a long time and have a huge amount of experience.
“They came to watch us last Friday, so they’ll have a plan for us and we will have to be ready for that.”
Dinny Corcoran (knee) and Dean Casey (calf) miss out, which sees Stephen Nolan promoted to the matchday squad from the Under-19s.
Derek Pender (hamstring) and Georgie Poynton (bug), who were both enforced substitutions against Galway United, are available for selection.
Long-term absentees Izzy Akinade (recovering from surgery to have his spleen removed) and Eoin Wearen (cruciate) remain out.