NO ROOM FOR COMPLACENCY

LONGFORD TOWN v BOHEMIANS
SSE Airtricity League, Dalymount Park, Saturday 2 July, 7.30pm

Unbeaten in five games in all competitions, Bohemians fans are starting to look up the table again.

Bohs were something of a surprise package last year in Keith Long’s first season in charge, finishing fifth having been in contention for a European place until the last game.

The Gypsies haven’t hit the same heights this season.

But after putting a six-game run without a league win behind them, Bohs currently sit ninth but are just five points off fifth and looking to improve.

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Long said: “Our ambition at the start of the season was to consolidate and hopefully build on last year’s position.

“That is still our ambition but we can’t spend our time distracting ourselves by looking at the table. Ultimately it’s the same each week – we have got to go out and try win our next game.

“It’s not going to be easy. We have to work hard and give a performance.”

Saturday’s opposition Longford Town are just a point adrift at the bottom of the table but have not won since the opening day of the season.

Regardless of going 15 league games without victory, Long is not taking the trip to the Midlands for granted.

He said: “It doesn’t matter who you play in this league, every team is capable of giving you a game.

“They’re down the bottom of the table, they know they need to start winning and they will be scrapping for points.

“Tony Cousins will have them throwing the kitchen sink at us and we have to be prepared for that.”

Last Friday’s 1-1 draw with Galway United after the mid-season break extended Bohs’ unbeaten run but Long felt it was a missed opportunity to claim all three points.

He added: “The danger after three weeks without a game is that you don’t come into a game at full tilt.

“But in fairness, we had trained hard, we did start brightly and should have gone 2-0 ahead, which would have been a different game.

“But after that initial spell of 20 minutes, Galway came back into it and equalised.

“We made changes in the second half and in the last 25 minutes, we looked like the only team who could win it and a decent shout for a penalty too.”

Bohs are once again without Jake Kelly (shoulder) but he has been given the all-clear to return to training. Dave Mulcahy (virus) is a doubt.

“We want to hit the ground running”

BOHEMIANS v GALWAY UNITED
SSE Airtricity League, Dalymount Park, Friday 24 June, 7.45pm

Keith Long wants Bohemians to pick up from where they left off when Galway United come to Dalymount Park  on Friday.

The Gypsies won four games in a row in all competitions before the SSE Airtricity League took a two-week mid-season break.

A confidence-boosting win against Galway in the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup was followed up with victories against UCD in the Leinster Senior Cup and against both St Patrick’s Athletic and Wexford Youths in the league.

Now Long has told Bohs to continue that form and push up into the top half of the table.

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Bohs lie eighth on 17 points, while Tommy Dunne’s Tribesmen are five points ahead in fifth.

Long said: “Galway are ahead of us but we’re looking upwards now. We want to hit the ground running.

“Confidence is high and if we play to our strengths, we can move up the table.

“It’s important we get off to a good start. We were slow starting after the mid-season break last year – that can’t happen again.”

The last time these sides met marked a turnaround in Bohs’ season.

Having lost 1-0 to Galway at Eamon Deacy Park in April, Bohs made amends with a crucial 2-0 victory in the cup at Dalymount Park last month.

That win ended a run that had seen Bohs fail to win or score in seven games in all competitions.

Long added: “It was a huge game for us as our league form wasn’t great going into that game.

“You can see how much confidence the players took from that result. We’ve done very well since, but this will be a different game.”

Bohs welcome back Paddy Kavanagh (ankle) and Ayman Ben Mohamed (international duty). But Jake Kelly (shoulder) remains unavailable.

Goalkeeper Shane Supple joins the squad having been signed from Crumlin Utd, but defender Paul Rooney has left to join Millwall.

Meanwhile, due to a clash with St Patrick Athletic’s Europa League game, Tuesday’s ‪Leinster Senior Cup final between Bohemians and Wexford Youths has been postponed.

“WE NEED TO REPRODUCE LAST WEEK’S PERFORMANCE”

WEXFORD YOUTHS v BOHEMIANS
SSE Airtricity League, Dalymount Park, Friday 3 June 2016, 8pm

Keith Long has challenged Bohemians to build on recent form ahead of their last game before the mid-season break.

The Gypsies face a tricky trip to face Wexford Youths in Ferrycarrig Park on Friday night.

But Long’s side come into the game in a confident mood after successive wins in the FAI Cup, Leinster Senior Cup and SSE Airtricity League.

Sunday’s 5-1 drubbing of St Pat’s – the club’s biggest win over the Saints in 39 years – capped off an impressive 10 days for the team, which ended a run of six league games without a win.

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Long said: “Our performances have improved over the last few weeks. But we won’t be getting ahead of ourselves by saying we’ve turned a corner just yet.

“Nobody would have ever expected us to beat St Pat’s 5-1 and, along with the two cup ties, we do come into the game with a bit of form now.

“We showed on Sunday that there are goals in this team. We hit St Pat’s early, we were really effective and made the most of our chances. But it’s a different game tomorrow and it will be extremely tough.

“We have to ensure we reproduce that intensity and tempo again so we can build on our recent form.”

First Division champions Wexford Youths have proved difficult opponents this season.

League leaders Dundalk needed an injury-time winner against them last Sunday, while the Youths claimed a notable scalp by beating Shamrock Rovers three weeks ago.

Long added: “It’s going to be tough. Wexford Youths have been very difficult opposition for every team so far in the division and will perhaps feel they should have more points in the board.

“The core of the team has been together a long time and Shane Keegan has made some subtle additions along the way.

“We were lucky to get away with a 3-3 draw when we played them earlier in the season, they ran Dundalk so close last week and they’ve beaten Rovers too.

“It will be difficult, but if the team can match the performances of recent weeks, we will give ourselves every chance.”

Mark Quigley is available for selection again after serving a suspension against St Pat’s.

But Jake Kelly (shoulder) faces four to six weeks on the sidelines, while Paddy Kavanagh (ankle) and Jason Caffrey (ankle) are both ruled out.

Also unavailable is Ayman Ben Mohamed due to his involvement with the Tunisian national team, while Dylan Hayes (calf) is a doubt.

Meanwhile, the Leinster Senior Cup final between Bohemians and Wexford Youths has been confirmed for Tuesday June 28, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm.

WE’LL BRING THE GAME TO THEM

BOHEMIANS v ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC
SSE Airtricity League, Dalymount Park, Sunday 29 May 2016, 3pm

Buoyed by successive cup victories in the last week, Bohemians manager Keith Long wants his side to bring that form into the league.

The Gypsies host St Patrick’s Athletic at Dalymount Park on Sunday afternoon having failed to win a league game since beating Bray Wanderers on April 9.

But confidence is back after they ended a 691-minute goalless streak with wins over Galway United (2-0 last Friday) in the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup and UCD (1-0 last Monday) in the Leinster Senior Cup.

He said: “We didn’t lay a glove on St Pat’s when we lost to them earlier in the season so we want to make amends for that and bring the game to them this time.

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“We played very well against Galway. The most important thing was to get through to the next round but it was a very good team performance and we fully deserved to win.

“We had injuries coming up to the game and then more during it, but thankfully that didn’t stifle us.

“We followed that up against UCD too. The Leinster Senior Cup isn’t top of clubs’ priorities but it’s nice to get into the final.

“The most pleasing aspect was the manner of our performance, particularly our passing game in the second half, which bounces us on now into Sunday’s game.”

Both victories came at a price – all three of Bohs’ substitutions against Galway were enforced by injury.

Goalscorer Paddy Kavanagh (ankle), Jake Kelly (hamstring) and Derek Pender (quad) made way for Keith Buckley, Mark Quigley and Stephen Best respectively.

Quigley in turn was forced off in the first half against UCD with a knee injury and replaced by Ayman Ben Mohamed, who misses Sunday’s game and next Friday’s game against Wexford Youths due to his involvement with the Tunisia national team.

Kavanagh and Quigley remain sidelined through injury, but both are suspended for Sunday’s game anyway. There was better news for Bohs’ other walking wounded, who have all been passed fit to play.

Long said: “Paddy will be touch and go for the Wexford Youths game next week too. We mightn’t see him again until after the mid-season break.

“The good news is the damage to his ankle wasn’t as bad as we feared and we hope to have him back training next week.

“Jake and Derek are available for selection as is Lorcan Fitzgerald, who missed the Galway game with a hamstring injury.”

Those injuries allowed others to stake their claim for a starting place. Fitzgerald’s withdrawal saw Dylan Hayes drafted in at right-back against Galway, with skipper Pender moving to left-back.

With those three full-backs available for Sunday, Long is happy to have a selection headache.

He added: “When Derek was injured last season, Dylan came into the team and showed what he is capable of in the last series of games.

“Dylan’s unassuming, good on the ball and a tigerish tackler too. I’m happy for him as he has been training very well.

“He is pushing Derek the whole time and has been unlucky not to have forced his way in until now.

“Stephen Best, James Kavanagh and Paul Rooney all started against UCD too and gave good performances, so we do have options.”

“It’s a game we have to win”

BOHEMIANS v GALWAY UTD
Irish Daily Mail FAI Senior Cup, Dalymount Park, Friday 20 May 2016, 7.45pm

Keith Long says Bohemians need to start showing a ruthless streak if they are to progress in the FAI Cup.

The Gypsies, buoyed by Ayman Ben Mohamed’s call-up to the Tunisian national team, host Galway United on Friday having failed to win or score in six league games.

Long said: “It’s hugely important and it’s a game we have to win.

“It’s the only all-Premier Division tie of the round against a good Galway team, who have already beaten us this season.

“It will be a tough game but we are the home team and we are expected to win.

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“If we can reproduce the performance from down in Sligo last week but take our chances this time, then I am confident we can get the victory.”

Long was once again left frustrated as Bohs passed up several gilt-edged opportunities in last Saturday’s 1-0 defeat away to Sligo Rovers to end their barren run.

He said: “It’s too easy to say we were unlucky. It’s more than luck, so we can’t play the luck card.

“We played well and with a high tempo but we are not being ruthless enough. We had at least a half-dozen clear-cut chances, not just half-chances.

“On another night, with the amount of chances we passed up, we would have won the game comfortably.

“Obviously we were disappointed with the goal we conceded too, but ultimately we have to stop being so wasteful in front of goal. It’s as simple as that.”

Bohs’ selection options have been limited by the decision of Anto Murphy to leave the club due to family and work commitments.

Long said: “Anto has been a great servant for the club for several years. It’s disappointing, he will be a big loss.

“We will have to wait until July before we can strengthen our squad but I have a few irons in the fire.”

One major doubt for Friday’s game is Derek Prendergast, who was forced off against Sligo with a hamstring injury.

Jason Caffrey (hamstring) has returned to full training after a long lay-off but will not be risked against Galway.

Website by Simon Alcock