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.
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.”