Bohemians manager Keith Long by Simon Alcock

SSE Airtricity League, Dalymount Park, Friday 17 April, 7.45pm

B[/dropcapohemians are staying grounded as they face 2013 champions St Patrick’s Athletic from five points above them in the league table.

“It's important to stay on an even keel. We can’t get too high when we win and we can’t get too low when we lose,” said manager Keith Long.

“We have a grounded group, they’re a modest bunch and they know they can’t approach any game down gears. We know we always have to put in 100 per cent to get anything out of any game.


“The next four games are huge. First Pat’s, and then away to Sligo and Derry in the same week, and Cork the following week. That’s the challenge for us and we’re looking forward to it.”

Long is keenly aware of the strengths St Patrick’s have in their squad. He saw them two weeks ago come from two goals and then a man down against Longford Town to earn a 2-2 draw.

“They’re as good a passing side as there is in this league. We know it will be a very difficult game on Friday. We’ve got to be disciplined. We can’t be easy to play through because they have quality players with clever movement that can punish any lapse in concentration.”

But if he expects improved results for St Patrick’s Athletic, Long is also aiming to get more from his players. “We can’t argue with results so far but there’s still room for us to be tidier with the ball and more creative in the final third.”

Dave Mulcahy’s return adds to the competition for places. He came on as a sub in the recent EA Sports Cup match against Longford Town and had a “slight reaction”. He was left out of the squad for the league game against the same opposition four days later but is now available for his first league start of the season.

Robbie Creevy has a knock and will face a late fitness test. Otherwise, Long has a full squad to choose from, with only long-term injury Dan Byrne (cruciate) missing. Byrne will return to contact training next week following a six-month lay-off, further strengthening Long’s hand in maintaining Bohemians’ defensive record.

“It’s a lonely place when you’re training on your own and not fully participating in training but Dan has worked extremely hard and done really well to get to this point. It’s a credit to him.”

Website by Simon Alcock