“Our lads don’t need any extra motivation”

Bohemians manager Keith Long by Simon Alcock

SSE Airtricity League, Showgrounds, Saturday 17 October, 7.45pm

Unbeaten in five league games, Bohemians go in search of maximum points in Sligo as they continue to chase down fourth-placed St Patrick’s Athletic.

Last week Bohemians closed the gap with a 2-0 win over St Pat’s in Dalymount, though manager Keith Long believes the winning margin could and should have been bigger.

“We butchered a number of chances, particularly late in the game when they were down to ten men. We were worth the win but with a bit more care with our final pass, we could have scored another couple of goals.”

Long is confident that his players will not suffer any late-season fatigue. “I don’t fear that with the group of players we have. They want to finish the season as strongly as they can.


“Our lads don’t need any extra motivation at this point. They want to get a win on Saturday. We have to make sure we’re ready and our lads will embrace that challenge.”

Sligo Rovers are 19 points behind Bohemians but manager Mickey Adams has steadied the ship and in the ten league games since they were beaten 1-0 in Dalymount Park, Sligo have accumulated just one point less than Bohemians.

“Sligo is a tough place to go. They have a squad full of quality and they have three games to maintain their Premier Division status. They will set about doing that on Saturday,” said Long.

“They will see this home fixture as one they absolutely have to win and we have to go up there and make sure we are ready for everything they throw at us.”

Paddy Kavanagh and Jason Caffrey return for selection, having been ill last week, but defenders Stephen Best (thigh), Derek Prendergast (calf) and now Lorcan Fitzgerald (groin) are all likely to miss out. Midfielder James O’Brien (ankle) has returned to training and may be available.

The additional training session on Friday will be an opportunity to confirm the fitness of the players fighting to recover. But even with possibly three first-choice defenders missing, Long is unlikely to risk starting Dan Byrne, who returned to action last week.

Byrne came on as a late sub against St Patrick’s, making only his second appearance this season after a long lay-off and an interrupted recovery. “We hope to give Dan more game-time this season but we have to be careful and not overload him. He is dedicated to getting himself completely right for the next season,” said Long.
Up front, manager Long has widened his choices, giving 19-year-old Aaron Ashe a brief appearance off the bench last weekend. Ashe joined Bohemians at the start of the year and has been a regular goal-scorer for the under-19s, netting a hat-trick against Longford Town last month. He has been training with the first team for several months.

“He’s a young lad with a lot to learn but he works extremely hard at his game and we hope he can make the step up next season and continue to develop with us,” said Long.

Website by Simon Alcock