“CONFIDENCE IS THERE”

Bohemians v St Patrick's Athletic - SSE Airtricity League Premier Division

SLIGO ROVERS v BOHEMIANS
SSE Airtricity League
Saturday October 7 2017, 7.45pm, The Showgrounds

​Keith Long has challenged Bohemians to once again pick up where they left off.

The Gypsies have sat out three weekends of the last six with no competitive game due to the scheduling of this year’s FAI Cup.

But despite a stop-start fixture list, they have so far managed to maintain good form and have now built up a five-point cushion in sixth place.

Long said: “The gap between our games hasn’t been ideal, you would like a bit more continuity.

“But we’re in good form. We’ve only lost one in our last seven league games, so there is confidence there.”

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Bohs’ last run-out saw them come out 3-2 winners in an enthralling Dublin derby against St Patrick’s Athletic at Dalymount Park a fortnight ago.

Long said: “We played some really good stuff. We played with a lot of purpose and our attacking play was excellent.”

Last month, Long challenged his team to be more clinical in front of goal and they responded with seven goals in two games.

That hasn’t gone unnoticed with play-maker Keith Ward, who hit a hat-trick in the 4-1 win against Drogheda United three weeks ago, nominated for the September SWAI/SSE Airtricity Player of the Month Award.

He said: “The front four have been excellent. Izzy Akinade caused St Pat’s endless amount of problems.

“Dinny Corcoran has been excellent all year – I can’t praise him enough. His finishing has been outstanding all season.

“Keith has been in great form too and he deserves the recognition of being nominated for Player of the Month.

“We will really miss Paddy Kavanagh through suspension tomorrow, he’s been in good form for us lately too.”

Another man sitting this one out is Warren O’Hora as the Cabra man is in Waterford on international duty with the Ireland Under-19s.

But Long is happy to see a product of Bohs’ Under-17 and Under-19 teams get the recognition he deserves.

Having made his first-team debut off the bench against St Patrick’s Athletic in July, the 18-year-old has earned great plaudits for his confident performances ever since.

Long said: “Warren’s accomplished a lot since he’s come into the team.

“He’s assured and has a level of mentality beyond his years, especially in such a key position.

“There aren’t many 18-year-olds playing as a regular centre-half in the Premier Division but he’s taken it in his stride.”

While the Bohs’ current position and recent attacking flair belies pre-season predictions, tomorrow’s opposition will feel they have under-performed this season as find themselves in the relegation zone.

Long added: “They’re another team fighting for their lives. We know we’ve work to do.

“We have to be organised and ready for them.”

TEAM NEWS

Warren O’Hora (international duty), Paddy Kavanagh (suspension), Lorcan Fitzgerald (knee) and Eoin Wearen (cruciate) all miss out.

Oscar Brennan comes back into the reckoning having been suspended for the St Pat’s game.

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