MOUNTING INJURIES AHEAD OF DUBLIN DERBY

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC v BOHEMIANS
SSE Airtricity League, Richmond Park, Friday 26 August, 7.45pm

Bohemians will be without defenders Stephen Best (ankle) and Derek Pender (suspended but also suffering with a thigh injury) for tomorrow’s Dublin derby at Richmond Park.

Both were forced off due to injury during last Friday’s 2-0 defeat to Derry City in the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup.

There are selection concerns up front too with Mark Quigley (hamstring) set to miss out, while Ismahil Akinade remains a doubt with illness that saw him sit out two of Bohs’ last three games.

Goalkeeper Shane Supple, who suffered an ankle injury against Cork City a fortnight ago, returned to training this week and is available for selection.

Under-19s Warren O’Hara and Dean Casey will be included in the squad.

“We’re going to give it a right go”

BOHEMIANS v DERRY CITY
Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup 3rd Rd, Dalymount Park, Friday 19 August, 7.45pm

Keith Long believes the 12th man can help Bohemians progress in the FAI Cup against Derry City on Friday.

Late goals from Kurtis Byrne and Stephen Best saw Bohs come from 2-0 down to seal a dramatic 3-2 win against in-form Sligo Rovers on Monday night.

Dalymount Park was hopping as a confident second-half performance saw Keith Long’s side make it seven points from three league games.

Long said: “It’s been a while since we’ve seen drama like that at the end of a game at Dalymount. It gives the players real confidence going into the cup tie.

“The reception the team got from the fans at the end was brilliant – you can’t underestimate the importance of the bond between players and supporters.

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“In a game of small margins, when the 12th man is behind you from the start, the players value that. It gives them that little bit of extra confidence.

“We are at home, so we want to take the game to Derry City and give it a right go. The fans can help us do that.”

After an excellent 0-0 draw away to title-chasing Cork City last Friday, Bohs almost undid all that hard work as they went 2-0 down to Sligo Rovers in the first half on Monday.

Long said: “We were really good value for the point down in Cork. We kept the ball well and defended well.

“But you couldn’t have had a more contrasting performance to that than in the first half against Sligo. We had tired bodies playing two games in quick succession.

“You can sometimes forget we’re part-time and don’t have the luxury of recovery times between games that some teams do – Derry will be our third game in eight days.

“That said, we know we didn’t defend well in the first half. Sligo caused us problems but they were problems of our own making.

“But we showed great character to fight back – Izzy Akinade got a crucial goal just before half-time and our second-half performance deserved the two late goals to win it in the end.

“It was a great result. Sligo were unbeaten in nine games before that so the lads deserve a bit of credit for turning it around.”

Friday’s opposition Derry have frustrated Bohs in the sides’ two league meetings this season, winning 1-0 on both occasions, most recently at Dalymount Park last month.

Long added: “We were unlucky in the game in the Brandywell but when they came down here we didn’t do enough to win the game.

“There wasn’t all that much between the teams but they’re an organised team and we have to be a bit smarter.

“If we perform like we did against Cork City and in the second half against Sligo, we can progress against Derry.”

TEAM NEWS

Shane Supple and Marco Chindea are cup-tied having represented Crumlin United and Athlone Town respectively earlier in the competition.

Supple, however, is recovering well from an ankle injury he sustained against Cork City last week, which ruled him out of Monday’s game against Sligo Rovers.

“We have to be ready for them”

CORK CITY v BOHEMIANS
SSE Airtricity League, Turner’s Cross, Friday 12 August, 7.45pm

Keith Long has told Bohemians to be ready for a Cork City backlash at Turner’s Cross on Friday.

John Caulfield’s side’s surprise 2-1 defeat to Sligo Rovers on Monday saw them pass up the opportunity to close the gap on faltering league leaders Dundalk.

But after Dundalk lost against Bray Wanderers on Wednesday for their second successive defeat, there is added expectation on Leeside.

Long said: “They will be well up for it. John Caulfield will be looking for a response after losing to Sligo.

“They would have seen Monday’s game as a chance to make ground up on Dundalk and they’ll be looking at Friday night the same way.

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“It’s not a good time to be playing them but it’s never easy against Cork anyway. We have to be ready for them and concentrate on our own game.”

After defeats against Shamrock Rovers and Derry City, Bohs got back to winning ways last Friday with a hard-earned 2-0 victory against a stubborn Finn Harps side.

Long said: “We’ve played better and lost this season. It wasn’t a a great game but the attitude of the players was spot on throughout and I thought we deserved to win the game.

“We had players struggling with match fitness – Stephen Best and Lorcan Fitzgerald hadn’t played in a month so we were pleased to have them available again and to get all three points.

“They were two very well-worked goals by us. The substitutes we made were crucial in breaking them down. Jake Kelly came on after the break and Eoin Wearen then added that bit of spark and creativity that we needed.”

TEAM NEWS

New signing Dean O’Halloran is expected to feature in Friday’s squad, subject to international clearance for the 20-year-old former Fulham player arriving on Friday.

Long said: “Dean’s very quick. He’s not overly physical – but his pace will stretch the opposition and we needed that.

“He’s not 100% fit yet and hasn’t played in the League of Ireland before but I think he’ll prove to be a good addition to the team.

“He can play out wide or as a No 10 and will offer support up front, running off the likes of Izzy and bringing players into it.”

Bohs also welcome back Dan Byrne and Keith Buckley from suspension.

But Dylan Hayes (ankle), who returned to training this week, remains a doubt, while Stephen Best is a doubt again after suffering a fresh knee injury in last week’s game against Finn Harps.

“IT’S UP TO US TO GO FOR IT”

BOHEMIANS v DERRY CITY
SSE Airtricity League, Dalymount Park, Friday 22 July, 8pm

Bohemians manager Keith Long has encouraged his side to rise to the challenge when high-flying Derry City come to Dalymount Park on Friday.

The Gypsies managed three victories from three league meetings against the Candystripes last season.

But since Kenny Shiels took the reins at the start of this term, Derry are a different animal, currently occupy third place and are now aiming for European football next year.

Long said: “It’s going to be another tough game for us. They’re well organised – everyone has a job to do and they stick to it.

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“They’ve really improved. You only have to look at their league position to know they’re a different prospect for any side this season compared to last season.

“But we’re at home so it’s up to us to go out and give a performance.”

Six places and 12 points separate the sides going into Friday’s game. But despite the gulf, there wasn’t all that much in it when the sides met at The Brandywell in April.

A first-half Rory Patterson gave Shiels’ men a 1-0 victory. But as has often been the case this season, the Gypsies were frustrated, feeling they should have got something out of the game.

Long said: “There wasn’t a huge amount in the game. Kurtis Byrne had a great a chance and really should have scored.

“Both teams were very competitive and I expect it will be the same on Friday.”

Bohs come into this game after a bruising Dublin derby defeat to Shamrock Rovers.

Having saved an early penalty and taken the lead with only ten men, Bohs’ luck ran out as they eventually went down 3-1 – a scoreline that arguably flattered the hosts.

Long said: “The timing of Keith Buckley’s sending-off was unfortunate. We had started the game poorly and Dean Delany got us out of jail with the penalty save. But we were starting to get into it.

“We still managed to get ahead despite being a man down and it was a great finish by Kurtis Byrne.

“But defensively we were too easy to play against. Ultimately Rovers didn’t have to work too hard for their goals and that’s very disappointing.

“Up front we were culpable too – we missed some great opportunities and could have gone in level at half-time.

“We came back into it in the second half but we had to take Izzy Akinade off as a precaution when he took a knock to the head.

“He was making life difficult for Rovers and we lost some of our attacking threat when he had to come off.”

Long’s options are severely hampered by suspension and injury concerns.

Buckley serves a one-game ban after his dismissal against Rovers.

But there are big doubts over the fitness of Ayman Ben Mohamed, who has been limited to a bit-part role in recent weeks due to an ongoing niggling groin injury, Eoin Wearen (hamstring), Dylan Hayes (ankle) and Derek Pender (quad).

Definitely still out is Stephen Best (knee), while Lorcan Fitzgerald (ankle) looks set to miss out again too.

Better news for Bohs, however, is the return of Paddy Kavanagh (ankle).

“WE HAVE TO BE CLINICAL”

SHAMROCK ROVERS v BOHEMIANS
SSE Airtricity League, Tallaght Stadium, Friday 15 July, 8pm

Keith Long has told his in-form Bohemians side to go out and have a go at Tallaght Stadium on Friday.

But he has warned that focusing on revenge will see the Gypsies come unstuck.

Unbeaten in seven games in all competitions, Bohs are enjoying their best form of the season.

And Long said: “It’s a big game for both sets of players and both sets of supporters. Neither side will need extra motivation going into a derby game.

“But we have to be clinical, do our jobs right and go out and give a performance.

“Confidence is good but there can’t be any passengers. We want to go out to Tallaght and have a go.”

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Bohs were left licking their wounds the last time the rivals met in April. Having lost just once in their previous 11 league meetings against the Hoops, the Gypsies were humbled 4-0 at Dalymount Park.

The eventual collapse hinged on the concession of two goals either side of half-time. Up until the opener, Long’s men had been on top for most of the opening half.

A lot has changed at Rovers since, with Stephen Bradley taking the reins as caretaker manager earlier this month after the departure of Pat Fenlon.

Long said: “We gave away a silly free-kick to concede just before half-time having been the better side before that. We come back out, hit the crossbar and then they go 2-0 up on the break.

“What happened after that was what was most disappointing. The wheels came off as we went chasing the game.

“But none of that comes into our thought process ahead of this game. We can’t be looking at it as a chance for revenge or we’ll come unstuck.

“It’s a different game. Rovers have new management and both sides will be well up for it.”

The Gypsies come into the game in good form but Long was left frustrated that his side could not secure all three points last time out as a battered Bray Wanderers came away from Dalymount with a 0-0 draw.

He added: “We just couldn’t capitalise and put the ball in the net. With the amount of chances we created, we would have been well worthy of the three points.

“We need to be more clinical. We created a lot of one-on-one chances but the fact that their keeper Peter Cherrie was man of the match said it all.

“We put together some very good passages of play at times so the signs are there that our performances are improving.

“But it is disappointing that we’re not going into this game with another three points behind us.”

Long’s options have been limited by injuries sustained by Stephen Best (knee) and Lorcan Fitzgerald (ankle) during last week’s 2-0 friendly defeat to Portsmouth.

It had been feared that Best had suffered a cruciate injury, but a scan on Monday instead confirmed knee tendon damage that will rule him out for up to a month.

Dan Byrne (hamstring), Paddy Kavanagh (ankle) and Ayman Ben Mohamed are also considered major doubts.

Better news for Bohs was Ian Morris making his debut for the club against Portsmouth, while Jake Kelly (shoulder), who had been out for a month, also played 60 minutes in the same game.

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