LIVIN’ LA VIDA LOPES

lopes

Roberto Lopes is relishing the opportunity that manager Aaron Callaghan has given him this season, writes FRANKIE LALLY.

The defender will be looking to cement his place in the heart of the Bohemians defence after the closed-season departures of last season’s twin towers Kevin Feely and Evan McMillan, who joined Charlton and Sligo Rovers respectively.

But Lopes – whose father Carlos hails from Cape Verde – insists he is not feeling any added pressure this year.

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Speaking at Thursday’s launch of Karmann Volkswagen’s sponsorship of Bohemians, Lopes explained: “I wouldn’t say I’m feeling the pressure but they are definitely big boots to fill.

“Personally I see it as a big opportunity so it’s up to me now to step up and take it. I’m happy to see the two lads who left doing well because we’re still good mates.”

Lopes signed for the Gypsies four years ago under Pat Fenlon after a successful schoolboy career with Dublin side Belvedere. He then made his debut in the FAI Cup semi-final defeat against Sligo Rovers in 2010.

The 20-year-old has come on leaps and bounds since and this season he is ready to announce himself as a first-team regular at Dalymount Park – and mark it with a trophy too.

“We’re very ambitious this year,”  added Lopes. “We want to try and win a cup and I think we have every right to be ambitious this year – we’re aiming to finish in the top four too.

“The label of being a young squad can’t hang around forever so we need to be ambitious and go out and try to win something.

“We’re looking really sharp and we’ve had a good pre-season under us. Last year the preparation wasn’t the best at the start of the season. We had too many players and the squad wasn’t settled, but this year we have a good squad together.”

One man who has been vital in Lopes’ career so far is veteran defender and Gypsies captain Owen Heary.

And Lopes reckons he is learning a lot from the 36-year-old seven-time League of Ireland winner.

“Owen is fantastic. He really helps me out, especially being a defender. He has so much information he can give me and we’re good mates too on and off the pitch.

“If I could do half as well as him in my career I’d be doing well.”

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