“WE WANT TO GIVE FANS A SEND-OFF”

22729069_10159390991490702_7457646452043292708_n (2)

Bohemians go into their final league game of the season buoyed by some of their key men agreeing to remain at Dalymount Park next year.

Five players – Dan Byrne, Rob Cornwall, Paddy Kavanagh, Derek Pender and Shane Supple – extended their stay at the club this week.

It brings to eight the number of players under contract for next season after rising stars Oscar Brennan, Warren O’Hora and Fuad Sule inked new deals at the start of August.

This time last year, Bohs had nobody under contract for 2017 so manager Keith Long is relieved to have some of his business done early.

He said: “We are in a stronger position now than we are last year. It’s important to have key players committed as we want to improve next season if we can.

READ MORE

“Derek Pender as captain and Shane Supple as vice-captain, they were two players I wanted to tie down as they drive the culture we’re trying to create at this club.

“They lead by example and we hope that by tying them down already, others will follow suit.

“We re-signed some of our younger players in August too. The fans’ player fund mid-season allowed us to do that and bring in the likes of Dan Casey who has a very bright future.

“For that, we are extremely grateful. It is a testament to the backing we’ve had from our supporters this season and we really want to give them a send-off tomorrow.”

Last week’s stunning 1-0 victory away to Dundalk secured a top-half finish for a team bookies at the start of the season had tipped to be relegated.

And a win against Finn Harps tomorrow coupled with a Bray Wanderers defeat away to Cork City would see Bohs finish as high as fifth.

Long said: “It hasn’t always been plain sailing. We’ve had our ups and downs but overall it’s been a rewarding season.

“We were looking over our shoulders at various stages but we always felt that we had enough in the dressing room to be safe.

“There are three full-time teams below us fighting for survival on the last day – they would all love to be in our position right now.

“Players and staff have worked extremely hard and put in extra hours and extra training to make sure we could first of all survive and then finish as high up the table as possible.

“The backroom staff have been excellent – from Trevor Croly right down. It’s been a collective effort from everyone at the club.

“Pound for pound, the players have done extremely well. They deserve an enormous amount of credit for their efforts.”

Against already-relegated Harps, Bohs are facing one of their bogey teams in recent seasons.

Long added: “We’ve found them difficult opponents. They are a very well-organised team.

“I commiserate with Ollie Horgan on their relegation, but I feel their absence from the division will be a short-term one.”

TEAM NEWS

Goalkeeper Supple (knee) is set to miss a league game for the first time this season. Colin McCabe, signed as back-up in August following his release from Celtic, is likely to make debut in his place.

Dylan Hayes (foot) is also set to sit this one out, while Dan Byrne, Rob Cornwall and Keith Ward are all suspended.

Warren O’Hora (hamstring) will return, while Eoin Wearen (cruciate) is likely to get first run-out of the year having returned to matchday squad v Dundalk last week.

Website by Simon Alcock