Preview: Bohemians v UCD

Bohemians got back to winning ways in the league against Finn Harps last weekend following their FAI Cup capitulation against Shelbourne – now Rory Feely says Bohs are determined to build on that and finish the year in form.

With little left to play for other than pride, six games remain for what has been a disappointing season.

Tonight Bohs, with a lengthy absentee list of nine players, face UCD with the Students scrapping for survival, one point off the bottom of the table.

Jodi Stand tickets are sold out, but Des Kelly Stand tickets remain and can be purchased online from tickets.bohemians.ie or supporters can pay at the turnstiles.

Goals from Declan McDaid and a wonder strike from Jordan Doherty gave the Gypsies a 2-0 in Ballybofey on Saturday and Feely said: “We got back winning ways.

“Our main goal coming off the week previously against Shelbourne was that we needed performance and hard work, and with that hopefully the result would follow. It did in the end.

“It was a rough first half but much better in the second. We got to play some good football and scored a really good goal.”

 

That FAI Cup quarter-final against Shelbourne was seen as a golden opportunity for Bohs to salvage something from their season, so the manner of the 3-0 defeat against a team that had failed to beat them in four previous attempts this year was all the more galling.

Fans made their feelings known at the full-time whistle, while many others left the ground long before the game finished.

Feely believes that reaction was justified, and that it is up to the team to try win back support with performances on the field.

He said: “The reaction from supporters was deserved. The performance against Shels was by no means good enough.

“There was nothing we could look back at from that game that was positive. Nothing went right. The work-rate wasn’t there which is something we pride ourselves on.

“The fans’ reaction was justified. We had to react to that going up to Finn Harps. That was the only thing in our minds.

“We wanted to try and redeem ourselves, to ourselves as well. Coming off that pitch embarrassed, we had to change our mindset.”

The remaining six games will determine whether they have succeeded to do that.

Feely added: “All we can do now is try to keep the pressure on the teams above us and try to move up the table that way.

“UCD is a must-win game that we are expected to win. We have six games left to prove to ourselves our own ability. We know each other well enough now, we should be clicking.”

TEAM NEWS

Bohemians are without Jon McCraken, James Talbot, Ryan Burke, Laurenz Dehl, Tyreke Wilson, James Clarke, Liam Burt, Johnny Afolabi and Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe.

PREVIEW: SHELBOURNE v BOHEMIANS

Derek Pender is urging Bohemians to seize the day when they face Shelbourne in this afternoon’s Extra.ie FAI Cup quarter-final at Tolka Park.

Bohs’ league form has disappointed this year but they have a huge opportunity to salvage their season today.

Pender said: “Our morale is good despite the upheaval there has been in recent weeks. The players are excited about the games ahead.

“They are all determined to look forward instead of looking back.

“We know it is a massive game but the lads have trained well and are really looking forward to it.

“Shels are a good side. They are aggressive and they are a team that is together and that works hard for each other.

“This will be a difficult game as we know from our last game against them that they never give up. We will have to be at our max.”

Following the departure of Keith Long as manager, Bohs rallied and beat rivals and league leaders Shamrock Rovers 1-0 at Dalymount.

But they could not find a way past Derry City nine days ago despite a positive second half display following an unusual first half where both sides struggled to get a hold of the game, which was disrupted by a long stoppage due to an injury to Candystripes defender Ciarán Coll.

Pender added: “The first half against Derry was strange with the long stoppage.

“Neither team really got going – that bit of magic from Michael Duffy was the only bit of play anyone will remember from that half.

“But our second half performance was pleasing. We had chances to get something out of it. Ethon Varian forced a great save and Rory Feely went extremely close.

“The team worked extremely hard for one another, and they need to continue doing that.”

TEAM NEWS

Bohemians are without James Talbot (shoulder), Laurenz Dehl (knee), Johnny Afolabi (quad) and Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe (knee). Jordan Flores (hamstring) is available for selection once more.

PREVIEW: DERRY CITY v BOHEMIANS

Derek Pender has challenged Bohemians to prove last week’s win over the league leaders was not a flash in the pan.

Having struggled for consistency all season, Bohs face another tough task this evening when they travel to the Ryan McBride Stadium to take on second-placed Derry City.

They do so buoyed following an impressive 1-0 victory over Shamrock Rovers, courtesy of Liam Burt’s second-half strike, as Pender and Trevor Croly took charge of the team together for the first time following the departure of manager Keith Long.

Now Pender wants to see more of the same on Foyleside.

He said: “Last Friday was a great performance. There was a togetherness in our play that we felt had been missing. That was great to see and it was what we wanted from the players.

”Obviously it is one of those fixtures that it is easy for everyone to get themselves motivated for – the challenge now is to bring that into the next game.

”We need to see that. Each week for us between now and the end of the season is going to be another test of this group to see where they are at.

”We need to see performances like last Friday on a consistent basis. We need to keep going, and to keep trying to improve every week.”

Bohs went in at the break last Friday with the game scoreless. There was perhaps a fear in the stands that Rovers would go up a gear when the sides reemerged. Instead, it was Bohs who grabbed a hold of the game.

Pender said: ”There were signs in the first half that although we were playing well, that the players were playing with a little bit of a lack of belief because they were low in confidence after a difficult few weeks.

”We told them at half-time to go out in the second half and believe in themselves. Thankfully they did that, and thankfully we got that little bit of magic from Liam Burt to win the game.”

Bohs travel to the Brandywell with that much-needed confidence boost but know that they face another difficult challenge against Rúaidhrí Higgins’ side.

Pender added: ”We are under no illusions about this game. Derry have good players and are flying high in the league and aiming to win the league.

”We have been frustrated against Derry on occasions already this season where we’ve dropped points late in games where we felt we deserved more, so we know how difficult it will be.

”But this has been a much better week for us in terms of training and preparation.

”Obviously last week was difficult for everyone but Friday has given people a lift, and there has been great energy in the group in training all week. We want to build on that.”

TEAM NEWS

Bohemians are without James Talbot (shoulder), Laurenz Dehl (knee), Jordan Flores (hamstring) and Johnny Afolabi (quad), while Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe (knee) and Jordan Doherty (hamstring) will be assessed ahead of the game.

PREVIEW: BOHEMIANS v SHAMROCK ROVERS

Derek Pender believes Bohemians need to regroup quickly to bounce back after what has been a difficult few weeks for all at the club.

Trevor Croly and Pender have been put in temporary charge of the first team on an interim basis after the club parted ways with manager Keith Long on Tuesday.

Pender, signed by Aaron Callaghan in 2012, was an ever-present during Long’s near eight years at the club, serving as his captain until retiring from playing at the end of 2019, managing the U17s to a league title in 2020, and serving as his first-team coach this season and last.

He owes much of his career to Long, and spoke honestly about the reaction of staff and players following his mentor’s departure.

Pender said: “It’s been a very difficult week. It’s not nice to see someone lose their job.

“It’s been tough for the staff, the players and everyone involved at the club. Really hard.

“We all have so much respect for Keith for everything he did for the club, and for the players and staff over the last seven or eight years.

“It’s a bit of a shock to the system. On Tuesday evening, Keith came in and told the players and staff what was going on.

“The players are obviously down after what happened because Keith is a great man and everyone has a huge amount of respect for him.

“We all know we have let him down, and we all know the club did not want to have to make that decision to let Keith go.

“He means a lot to me as a person as well as a manager. Everyone at the club loves him.”

Long’s final game in charge saw Bohs fall to a 3-1 defeat at home to St Patrick’s Athletic on Monday night.

Pender said: “It was disappointing, we didn’t play well, and unfortunately the consequences of that were Keith was gone on Tuesday.

“The first half was unacceptable. It was unacceptable from all of us, not just the players.

“As staff, we set up the way we set up and it didn’t work. We all have to look at ourselves and we all have to take responsibility.

“In the second half, and I know people will say it is easy to start playing when you are 2-0 down, there was a reaction from the players. We need to see more of that.

“They went after the game, and played more aggressively. They played with hunger and fire in their bellies. That’s the Bohs way and that is what we will be looking for.“

The difficult task now is for Bohs to dust themselves down, but with a Dublin derby at Dalymount Park against Shamrock Rovers tonight in store, they should need no extra motivation.

Pender said: “It is going to be difficult but we know we have to all get on with our jobs.

“The club has asked me and Trevor to look after the players until the club makes a decision about what they want to do.

“Me and Trevor have been part of the club for a long time, and we will do what we are asked to do to the best that we can.

“We have to regroup quickly. We have a massive, massive game now.

“In spite of everything, the players will be looking forward to it and they will be giving it everything they can for the club. That is the least we expect from them.

“Rovers are flying at the moment, everything is going well for them. They are a top side, you can see that – they are top of the league and they have qualified for the group stages of the Europa Conference League.

“Their squad is very strong. It will be a tough game but it is a Dublin derby, they are different to any other league game.

“Anything can happen, and it’s not a hard game for players to motivate themselves for.”

In a difficult week, one positive was a first start for 17-year-old James McManus on Monday.

Arguably Bohs’ best player on the night, Pender believes McManus has what it takes to push on and become a key man for the club.

He added: “James has been brilliant. He is a great lad and has a great future at the club.

“He’s signed a three-year contract with the club, which is brilliant for him and for the club.

“He has the potential and the mindset to go as far as he can in the game.

“He was brilliant on Monday. He played with no fear and went after the game, which was great to see.”

TEAM NEWS

Bohemians are without James Talbot (shoulder), Laurenz Dehl (knee), Conor Levingston (knee), Jordan Flores (hamstring) and Johnny Afolabi (quad), while John O’Sullivan (quad) and Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe (knee) are doubts.

PREVIEW: BOHEMIANS v ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC

Keith Long knows qualifying for Europe through the league will be an uphill task this season but says Bohemians will be doing everything in their power to defy the odds.

Nine points separate Bohs in sixth and tonight’s opponents St Patrick’s Athletic in fourth, and Long knows his side are running out of time to try and close that gap.

Long said: ”There’s lots of games and twists and turns, you can’t give up.

“There’s a big gap, we’ve not given up but we have made life difficult for ourselves.”

Bohs stopped a run of two defeats and a draw with Friday’s 2-0 win over Lucan United in the FAI Cup.

The challenge now is to build on that and improve their form in the league.

Long added: “There are lots of improvements to be made in terms of performance, but I was pleased with the effort and endeavour of the players.

”We need to continue to try and improve – we have to as it’s a big week with tonight’s game against St Pat’s and Friday against Shamrock Rovers.

”We will fight hard to win every game we can. It won’t be easy. It’s Pat’s, a Dublin derby here.

”St Pat’s are in reasonably good form coming in off the back of European competition. We have to play each other in another round of games.

“We’re not looking for perfection but we are looking for progression. We are working extremely hard. I believe we have the bones of a good side.”

TEAM NEWS

Bohemians are without James Talbot (shoulder), Laurenz Dehl (knee), Conor Levingston (knee), Jordan Doherty (hamstring), Jordan Flores (hamstring) and Johnny Afolabi (quad).

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