“WE WANT TO SEND THE FANS HOME HAPPY”

Keith Long by Michael Ryan

​​PREVIEW: BOHEMIANS v BRAY WANDERERS
Friday March 10th, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm

Keith Long has told Bohemians to focus on their own performance when Bray Wanderers come to Dalymount Park on Friday.

Bohs have no points on the board from their opening two games of the season having lost at home to Derry City and away to Shamrock Rovers.

But Long, who has bolstered his squad with the re-signing of Dylan Hayes, is confident that is about to change.

Long said: “Bray have won their first two and we’ve lost ours.

“We know they’re going to be tough opponents but we are determined to get our season up and running.

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“Bray had a strong second half of the season last year when Harry Kenny came in and they’ve continued that form into this season.

“They’ve invested heavily and will be aiming to break into the top four so it’s going to be another tricky game.

“But we have to concentrate on ourselves and our own performance. It’s important we start to pick up points.”

Long has seen enough from the opening two games to be confident his side’s fortunes will improve.

He said: “It’s a marathon, not a sprint. We are only two games in and we’ve played two of the best teams in the league.

“We showed in patches against both Derry and Rovers what we are capable of but we need to keep that up for 90 minutes.

“We know where we need to work on and improve. We’ve been our own worst enemy at times.

“But I don’t believe there’s been that much in the two games so far. We haven’t been carved up.

“It’s individual mistakes that have cost us, but we’re not that far away.”

It would be easy for heads to drop, but Long insists the squad remain confident and buoyed by the support they have received so far.

Long added: “The fans have been terrific. Against Derry, Bohs fans aren’t used to losing by that kind of scoreline – especially at home – but they still backed us right up to full-time and after the game.

“Bohs fans are fair. We all want results but they know the players are giving it everything and the supporters are all getting behind them.

“It was the same in Tallaght. We brought a huge crowd out there and they backed us throughout.

“We want to see those numbers out again and we will be striving to get our season up and running to send them home happy.”

TEAM NEWS

Long has bolstered his squad with the re-signing of right-back Dylan Hayes, who is expected to go straight into the matchday squad.

Dan Byrne and Dinny Corcoran were both forced off with injuries at half-time against Shamrock Rovers last week.

Byrne (ankle) will miss out but it is hoped Corcoran (back) will be fit to start.

Long-term absentees Izzy Akinade (recovering from surgery to have his spleen removed) and Eoin Wearen (cruciate) remain sidelined.

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