“I can’t have any complaints given how well they have played”

Aaron Barry - Stephen Burke

FINN HARPS v BOHEMIANS
SSE Airtricity League
Friday April 12 2019, Finn Park, Ballybofey, 7.45pm

After six clean sheets in their opening eight league games, Bohemians’ defence has understandably been a difficult one to break into.

The Gypsies have conceded three league goals this season – from a penalty, from a corner and from a free-kick.

The strength of their rearguard and performances of goalkeeper James Talbot have earned many plaudits.

But one man has been watching on from the bench wondering would he ever get a chance to prove his worth.

Aaron Barry joined on loan from Cork City on the eve of the new season.

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The former Derry City stalwart helped the Leesiders to a second-placed league finish last season but it is Bohs who currently occupy that position as the division begins the second series of league fixtures.

The experienced central defender would have expected to have started for the first team in a league game by now.

James Finnerty arrived to the league from Aston Villa via Rochdale unproven at this level, while last year Rob Cornwall struggled to rediscover the form he displayed in 2017 due to a persistent niggling hamstring injury that affected his game-time and performance levels.

But such has been the form of Cornwall and Finnerty’s partnership in the heart of the Bohs defence this season that it has taken a suspension to the former – sent off in last Saturday’s 2-0 win away to Sligo Rovers – to put Barry in contention to make his first league start for the Gypsies.

Barry said: “It’s unfortunate for Rob to be missing out. Himself and James have been very solid at the back.

“In fairness, I arrived the day before the season started and the two lads haven’t put a foot wrong.

“I know how football works, I can’t have any complaints given how well they have played.

“It’s important to have strength in depth at any club and that’s what you want. But obviously I want to play. Rob’s suspension will hopefully give me an opportunity.”

Barry’s involvement thus far has been reduced to two substitute appearances in the league and starts in the Leinster Senior Cup and most recently the EA Sports Cup.

He gave a glimpse of what he is capable of in the former – netting twice in a 4-1 win against Shelbourne.

He said: “I’ve scored a couple of goals. We’ve been a threat at set-pieces this season – as you saw with James’ overhead kick that went in off his head!

“We all need to chip in with goals to take the pressure of Dinny.”

Barry is coming into a side that have belied mid-season predictions, but he is repeating the mantra of everyone keeping their feet on the ground.

They face a tricky trip to Ballybofey tomorrow – a venue that hasn’t always been kind to Keith Long’s teams in recent seasons.

He added: “I wasn’t paying too much attention to pre-season predictions but I guess people were thinking Bohs would be aiming for mid-table.

“But as soon as I came in, I could see the quality that is around the squad.

“It’s obviously been difficult for Bohs losing three or four good players every closed season but they’ve recruited well and replaced them with more quality.

“There is a good mix of young players but experience too with the likes of Derek Pender, Dinny Corcoran and Rob Cornwall.

“We’re going well at the moment and we are winning games but that can change quickly.

“We can’t get ahead of ourselves. There is a long season ahead and there will be plenty of twists and turns along the way.”

As for his own future, Barry admits that is still up in the air. His loan deal from Cork City ends in July.

He added: “I don’t look too far ahead. At the moment I’m a Bohs player and I’m determined to make the most of any opportunities I get.”

TEAM NEWS

Rob Cornwall is suspended having been sent off against Sligo Rovers last week.

Scott Allardice (facial injury) returns to the fold. Cristian Magerusan (cruciate) remains suspended.

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