April 27, 2017
BOHEMIANS v FINN HARPS
Friday April 28th, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm
Keith Long has told Bohemians to start turning good performances into results.
The Gypsies welcome Finn Harps to Dalymount Park determined to end a four-game losing run in the league.
That dip in form – albeit two of those defeats came against the best two teams in the country – has seen Bohs drop from fourth in the table to ninth.
Long’s men have drawn plaudits for the manner of their performances in their last three losses, but the manager would clearly rather see points on the board.
He said: “Past performances count for nothing. We’ve done okay in some of those games but that’s immaterial now.
“We need to turn good performances into results and develop a winning mentality.”
Bohs’ cause has not been helped by the continued absence of Ismahil Akinade, who is recovering from surgery to remove his spleen, and Dinny Corcoran, who remains out with a knee injury first picked up against Galway United on St Patrick’s Day.
Corcoran had five goals in five league games before being sidelined and Bohs have scored just one league goal in his absence.
But Long is adamant it is time for others step up to the mark and said: “That’s the hand we’ve been dealt. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves.
“We’ve still no recognised out-and-out centre-forward, so the goals are going to have to come from elsewhere.”
It’s not just in front of goal where Long is demanding improvements.
While his team has earned praise, much of their good work in the middle of the park has been undone by costly mistakes at the back.
Long said: “We have to get better collectively from a defensive perspective. We want to be a team nobody wants to play against.
“But we are positive too and I think that will be seen in how we approach the game.
“It’s going to be a difficult one – Finn Harps have done very well on the road this year. But we are determined to go out and do what it takes to get the win.
“We’re not even a third of the way into the season yet, there’s a long way to go. But we want to finish off the last of the first series of games with a victory.”
Recent injury pile-ups and the focus on improving the team’s league position have seen experimental line-ups deployed in both the EA Sports Cup and Leinster Senior Cup.
That experiment fared well in the EA Sports Cup victory against Cabinteely and they put up a fight in the 3-1 defeat against a strong Shamrock Rovers XI in the same competition.
But Long was disappointed with the manner of the 3-0 loss to Shelbourne in the Leinster Senior Cup on Monday.
He added: “Obviously we want to move up in the league, that has to be our priority. We don’t necessarily have the squad to play three games in eight days either.
“We used the games in the League Cup as an opportunity to play younger players and players around the first team lacking game-time.
“It was the same in the Leinster Senior Cup on Monday, although Shels chose to play their first team.
“I was disappointed with our performance. We have a tight squad and you can’t be feeling sorry for yourself that you’re not in the first team.
“Monday was a chance for players to scream at us that they should be in the team every week, but we didn’t have that from enough of them.”
Bohs continue with the exact same squad as last week, which means Dinny Corcoran (knee), Ismahil Akinade (surgery to remove spleen) and Eoin Wearen (cruciate) remain on the sidelines.