“THE CHALLENGE IS TO MAINTAIN CONSISTENCY”

Georgie Poynton by Tom Beary

BOHEMIANS v BRAY WANDERERS
Friday August 4 2017, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm

Keith Long is challenging his buoyant Bohemians side to maintain performance levels as they look to cement their place in the top half of the table.

Against all odds, the Gypsies secured two memorable victories away from home last Friday and Monday.

First, Long’s side came away from Tallaght Stadium with a 2-1 win in the Dublin derby – only the club’s second away victory over Shamrock Rovers since they moved to the stadium in 2009.

Then, despite five changes to his starting XI, Bohs left Turner’s Cross with a 1-0 win after inflicting a first league defeat of the season on runaway champions elect Cork City.

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Coming on the back of three defeats, those results have seen the Gypsies move up to sixth in the table. Victory against Bray would see them overtake Harry Kenny’s side in fifth.

But manager Long is urging caution. Some harsh lessons this season have taught Bohs not to look too far ahead in what is still an extremely congested league table.

He said: “To get six points from those two games was massive for us. The players were excellent but our challenge all season has been trying to maintain consistency.

“Those wins were much-needed too after three defeats beforehand but it’s important that we keep our feet on the ground.

“We have to strive to maintain those performance levels. Those wins are in the past and we have a fresh challenge now.”

Long believes that mantra is now ingrained in his players now too.

He said: “We’ve put ourselves in a good position to finish the season strongly and that is a massive incentive for everyone.

“As well as the performances and the results, one of the most pleasing things was the attitude of the players afterwards.

“They weren’t patting themselves on the back – they were already fully focused on Friday’s game.”

The off-field upheaval at Bray Wanderers is well documented but Long believes they are ready to draw a line under that now the distraction of the transfer window has passed.

Long added: “Bray have been in the top four or five all season. They’re there for a reason.

“They are an excellent side. They’ve had a difficult month off the field but now the transfer window is closed, they will be able to refocus on the rest of the season.

“But we just have to focus on our own performance first and make sure, collectively our performance is as good as it can be.”

TEAM NEWS

Defenders Dan Casey (ankle) and Warren O’Hora, who was carried off on a stretcher on Monday suffering from concussion, are both ruled out.

Greg Murray (hand) and Eoin Wearen (cruciate) remain on the sidelines.

But skipper Derek Pender (hamstring) and Paddy Kavanagh (rib), who both sat out Monday’s game, are available once more for selection.

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