SQUAD GOALS

​SLIGO ROVERS v BOHEMIANS
Saturday April 8th, The Showgrounds, 7.45pm

Three further Bohemians under-19 players will travel with the first team to Sligo on Saturday as manager Keith Long makes full use of his squad during its current injury crisis.

Kian Clarke, Paddy Kirk and Jamie Hamilton join Steven Nolan in making the step up.

Nolan made his first-team debut off the bench in injury-time against Drogheda United a fortnight ago and he followed that up with bagging the winner in Bohs’ 1-0 EA Sports Cup victory against Cabinteely on Tuesday night.

Long made nine changes to his starting line-up for that game and he was pleased with how his experimental XI fared.

Four starters – Kirk, Fuad Sule, Eoghan Morgan and Brandon Perry – were making their first-team debuts, with a further two debutants – Hamilton and Jamie Wilson – coming off the bench.

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It was much-needed game-time for others too, with Dylan Hayes and Philip Gannon each getting 90 minutes.

Long said: “They certainly did themselves no harm. The lads did very well, it was a good performance. We dominated the ball for most of the game.

“It’s a squad game, so it’s important to know we’ve got people who can make that step up, especially with the injuries we have at the moment.

“It was important for others to get game-time too. We’re seven games into the league season and it was an opportunity for those who have not played so often to do so against decent opposition.”

Bohemians are once again without Ian Morris (knee), Jamie Doyle (quad), Dinny Corcoran (knee) as well as long-term absentees Eoin Wearen (cruciate) and Izzy Akinade (surgery to remove spleen). Stephen Best (bug) misses out too.

There was some good news, however, with goalkeeper Shane Supple fit to start having been forced off with a hip injury during last week’s loss to St Patrick’s Athletic.

Skipper Derek Pender, who missed the EA Sports Cup victory against Cabinteely through illness, is also available for selection, as is Dean Casey, who hobbled off in that game with an ankle injury.

Long said: “We’d hoped to have Dinny back for this game. But he’s not recovered quite as quickly as we would have liked, so we’re not going to rush him back for tomorrow night’s game.

“It’s a long season and this is just one game – we have to be careful with him.

“Ian’s had an injection in his knee this week, so we are hopeful we will have him back in training ahead of the Cork game next week.

“Jamie got good news with his scan but he will still need a couple of weeks to recover. Shane’s responded well to treatment all week and he’s ready to play.”

Long is demanding Bohs up their game following last week’s bruising 4-0 defeat to St Patrick’s Athletic.

Although the scoreline perhaps flattered the winners, Long is in no doubt that his side deserved nothing from the game.

He said: “Pat’s were better than us, we were far too easy to play against.”

The Gypsies travel to The Showgrounds to face a Sligo team who are second from bottom and without a manager.

Just seven games in, Dave Robertson became the second Premier Division managerial casualty of the season.

Long added: “It’s never nice to see a manager lose their job.

“Sligo will have pride as a group and feel they have something to prove. They probably feel they are in a false position in the league.

“It will be a tough game – I’ve no doubt they will have targeted this fixture.”

“This is a huge opportunity for players”

​BOHEMIANS v CABINTEELY
EA Sports Cup
Tuesday April 4th, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm

The chance to be included in Saturday’s squad against Sligo Rovers is the prize on offer for players promoted to the Bohemians first team tomorrow.

Manager Keith Long has seen his options curtailed by injuries – with six first-team starters currently sidelined.

Bohs were already without Ian Morris (knee) and Dinny Corcoran (knee) as well as long-term absentees Eoin Wearen (cruciate) and Ismahil Akinade (surgery to remove spleen).

They were joined on the sidelines when Jamie Doyle (knee) and Shane Supple (hip) were both forced off in Friday’s disappointing 4-0 defeat to St Patrick’s Athletic.

Morris and Doyle went for scans on their injuries today and the club is awaiting the results of those.

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Supple is ruled out of tomorrow’s game and will continue to receive treatment before he is reassessed.

Corcoran will not be risked against Cabinteely but it is hoped he is nearing a return to action.

With one eye on Saturday’s SSE Airtricity League clash away to Sligo Rovers, Long is not prepared to take unnecessary risks.

His side slipped to fifth after Friday’s loss and the Gypsies will travel to The Showgrounds facing a Bit O’Red team battling for points.

With that in mind, players lacking game-time and under-19 starlets will be given the opportunity to stake their claim tomorrow.

Expected to be included in the matchday squad are promising Ireland under-17 internationals Brandon Kavanagh, Dominic Peppard and Kian Clarke.

Brandon Perry, Cian Fay, Dylan Thornton and Paddy Kirk are among those who could be promoted from Graham Lawlor’s Bohemians under-19s.

Long said: “We have a very good first XI when we have everyone fit and healthy.

“We just can’t afford to lose anymore bodies. Our injuries have effectively dictated who can play.

“But this is a huge opportunity for players from the under-19s to step up.

“It’s a competitive game and with the injuries we have, there are places up for grabs in our squad for Saturday too.

“It’s also a chance for players who have been in and around the first team – the likes of Dylan Hayes – to get a bit of game-time under their belt and show us what they can do.

“We want to win the game, but the chance to be included on Saturday is an extra bit of motivation.”

Against Cabinteely, Bohs face a team flying high in the First Division.

Pat Devlin’s side will be licking their wounds after they squandered a two-goal lead and a chance to go top of the league in their 3-3 draw away to Athlone Town.

They are a club with some familiar faces too, with two-time Bohemian league winner Jason Byrne in their ranks, and former Bohs assistant manager Graham O’Hanlon on their backroom team.

Long added: “They’re doing very well and will be disappointed they’re not go top of the table.

“They’re going to give us a game and it’s up to our players to show they’re up for it.”

“WE’LL NEED THAT GRIT”

​BOHEMIANS v ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC
Friday March 31st, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm

Keith Long has warned against complacency as Bohemians look to extend their unbeaten run to five games.

The Gypsies have amassed 10 points from a possible 12 having lost their opening two fixtures of the 2017 season.

That recent run of form has seen Long’s side move up to fourth, but he insisted: “Nobody is getting carried away.

“We’re six games into the season – the league table doesn’t come into consideration at this point.

“I’m more concerned about getting our next result, not about what’s been and gone.”

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Bohs’ latest victory was a scrappy 1-0 win away to Drogheda United last Saturday.

Long said: “We didn’t play particularly well, but we got the result.

“They lads dug it out and we will need that grit and determination to get results throughout the season.

“But our first-half performance wasn’t where we wanted it to be.

“We improved in the second half, created a few chances, but Shane Supple did very well to keep it at 0-0 early in the second half.”

The winner came from a swooping header from Dan Byrne after an excellently-placed free-kick from Lorcan Fitzgerald.

For Byrne, a lifetime fan, it was a special moment as he ran the full length of the pitch to celebrate with his son.

Long said “Dan’s been great. He’s in great shape, both mentally and physically.

“I believe he will continue to improve as a player as the season progresses.

“It’s early days but there is great potential in the partnership at the back between him and Rob Cornwall.

“I’ve been delighted with Rob also. He’s come into the club and gone about his business in a quiet and professional manner.”

The victory also saw 16-year-old Steven Nolan make his first-team debut for the club, albeit for the last few moments of injury-time.

Long said: “As a club, we want and need players progressing through to the first team from the Under-17s and Under-19s.

“Steven’s done really well for our Under-17s last season and was promoted to Graham Lawlor’s Under-19s this year.

“He’s someone who looks like he can make the step up and he’s adapted to every challenge so far.”

Bohs host a St Pat’s side who brought their stumbling start to the season to an end with a Dublin derby victory last Saturday.

With just one point from their opening five games, Liam Buckley’s men got off the mark with a morale-boosting 2-1 win against Shamrock Rovers.

Long added: “Pat’s have some excellent players, results were going to come.

“But we have to concentrate on ourselves. Our performance needs to be better than it was in Drogheda.

“We are at home, hopefully we can have another big crowd.

“The fans have given the players a big lift both at home and away so far this year and we hope that will continue.”

TEAM NEWS

Ian Morris (knee) and Derek Pender (groin) are doubts, while Dinny Corcoran (knee) remains out.

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

“IT’S AN OPPORTUNITY FOR OTHERS”

DROGHEDA UNITED v BOHEMIANS
Saturday March 25th, United Park

Please note earlier kick-off time of 5.30pm

Keith Long has told his players “to make the jersey their own” as they look to extend their unbeaten league run to four.

The Gypsies were dealt a blow this week with the news that star striker Dinny Corcoran will be out of action for three to six weeks with an MCL (knee) injury.

Corcoran, who has five league goals to his name already this season, was one of three enforced substitutions in the 1-1 draw against Galway United last Friday.

Georgie Poynton and Derek Pender were also forced off through illness and a hamstring strain respectively, but both are available for Friday’s trip to United Park.

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Long said: “Seven points from three games was a good return, but three games in eight days took their toll on the players.

“I think that showed in our performance last Friday. After two very good wins, we looked a little bit laboured against Galway and we didn’t do enough to get the victory.”

Corcoran’s absence puts another strain on a squad that is already missing long-term absentees Eoin Wearen (cruciate) and Ismahil Akinade (surgery to remove spleen).

Long said: “It’s far from ideal being without Dinny. We are very stretched in that position already and to lose Dinny, particularly in the form that he’s in, is a big blow.

“But we have players who can play up front like Kaleem Simon and Jamie Doyle. It’s an opportunity for others to come into the team and make the jersey their own.”

After two defeats at the start of the season to Derry City and Shamrock Rovers, Bohs have been buoyed with two wins and a draw from their last three outings.

But continuing that form will be tough against one of the most experienced management teams in the league and a squad that contains six former Bohemians.

Long added: “Drogheda is a difficult place to go. I’ve enormous respect for Pete Mahon and John Gill and the work they’ve done.

“They’ve been around the league for a long time and have a huge amount of experience.

“They came to watch us last Friday, so they’ll have a plan for us and we will have to be ready for that.”

TEAM NEWS

Dinny Corcoran (knee) and Dean Casey (calf) miss out, which sees Stephen Nolan promoted to the matchday squad from the Under-19s.

Derek Pender (hamstring) and Georgie Poynton (bug), who were both enforced substitutions against Galway United, are available for selection.

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

“WE’LL NEED THOSE QUALITIES THROUGHOUT THE SEASON”

​BOHEMIANS v GALWAY UNITED
St Patrick’s Day, Friday March 17th, 7.45pm, Dalymount Park

Keith Long wants Bohemians to continue the momentum of what has been “a great week” for the club.

First, the Gypsies bounced back from 2-0 down last Friday to beat Bray Wanderers 3-2.

Then, three days later, Bohs came home from Limerick with all three points after a hard-earned 1-0 win on Monday.

Long said: “We had a great week with two big performances.

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“It was a quick turnaround playing Friday and then again on Monday. That tested us a bit, we’d a few tired bodies.

“But, over the course of both games, the lads showed all of the qualities that we are going to need throughout this season.

“They worked extremely hard from start to finish to earn those results.”

The victory at Markets Field also saw Bohs keep their first clean sheet of the season having shipped eight goals in their opening three games.

Bohs’ negative goal difference is what sees them currently occupying seventh position in the table instead of fifth, so Long was encouraged to see his team stem the tide at the back.

He said: “It was obviously our best defensive performance so far.

“Shane Supple is a top keeper and pulled off some great saves but there was great unity between the performances of everyone in the back five.”

Against Galway, Bohs face a side who have picked up just one point from their opening four games.

But Long remains wary of the threat posed by Shane Keegan’s men.

He added: “Galway are a full-time outfit with a full-time manager.

“They know they need to start picking up points soon but it’s up to us to make sure they don’t do so here against us.

“We’ll be right at it. We won’t have to guard against complacency after two wins.

“Everyone in this league is capable of taking points off each other so we all know there can’t be any complacency this season.”

TEAM NEWS

Ian Morris, who was forced off on Monday night with an ankle injury, is a doubt.

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

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