“we can put it up to anyone in this league”

Team-mates congratulate Eoghan Stokes by  A Baldiemann

BOHEMIANS v DUNDALK
Friday May 18 2018, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm

MATCH SPONSOR: Yvolve Sports
MATCHBALL SPONSOR: Killian Molloy

Keith Long wants his Bohemians side to “have a go” when top-of-the table Dundalk come to Dalymount Park tonight.

Buoyed by back-to-back league victories for the first time this term, Long’s side are relishing the challenge of taking on the country’s form team.

The Gypsies have won plaudits for their style of football throughout the season so far but against the Lilywhites, they come up against the pass masters.

The challenge ahead of them is even more daunting when you consider Bohs have not won three league games in a row since October 2015.

Long will watch the game from the stands after receiving a one-game game having been sent from the dugout against Waterford on three weeks ago.

Undeterred, he said: “You have to be at your best against Dundalk but that’s the same for every team that plays them as they’re such a strong side.

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“They play a fluent style of football as they always have under Stephen Kenny.

“With respect to Sligo Rovers and Bray Wanderers, Dundalk are on another level to most teams in the league.

“But those two wins allow us to have a go at them.

“On our day, if everyone gives a fully focused performance, we can put it up to anyone in this league.

“The pitch is looking well and it should be a great evening for football.

“We hope we have a big crowd here to support us and we want to go out and do ourselves justice in front of our home supporters.”

Bohs’ victories against Sligo and Bray respectively have left them in a healthier position in the league table.

They are seventh and are now 11 points clear of the relegation zone and six clear of the play-off position.

Long said: “In the first half against Bray, we were well on top and could have scored more to make it more comfortable for ourselves.

“We created a lot of chances. Bray got back into it with the penalty and put us under pressure for 20 minutes or so.

“But we defended well and when we brought Dan Byrne and Eoghan Stokes on, the game settled down for us.

“Eoghan got the third to kill the game off and the 3-1 scoreline was a fair reflection of the game.

“It was very important that we picked up wins against teams below and around us in the table to put a bit of distance between us.”

While Bohs’ style of play has been praised, a cutting edge had eluded them in previous, so Long is delighted to see his frontmen find form.

He added: “Dinny scored twice against Pat’s three weeks ago although one of them was mistakenly attributed to Kevin Devaney at the time.

“Now he’s got another one against Bray. Strikers can be confidence players so three goals to his name in recent weeks will do Dinny no end of good.

“The same goes for Stokesy. He’s an excellent talent but sometimes he needs to trust his instinct a bit more and pull the trigger.

“He believed in himself and did just that against Bray. Nothing beats putting the ball in the net and that goal will give him a big lift too.”

TEAM NEWS

Paddy Kavanagh (illness) returns to the squad, but Keith Ward (foot) and skipper Derek Pender (calf) are considered doubts.

Colin McCabe (shoulder), Karl Moore (ankle), Darragh Leahy (knee), Cristian Magerusan (metatarsal) and Ryan Swan (cruciate) remain out.

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