PREVIEW: BOHEMIANS v SHELBOURNE

Bohemians are looking for Dublin derby spoils in their first game back from a two-week break during the international football window.

Just one point separates tonight’s opposition with Shelbourne in sixth on 24 points and Bohs in seventh on 23.

Very little separated the teams the last time they met at Dalymount Park either when they served up a 1-1 draw.

But Bohs, with a determination to climb up the table, will be looking to instead replicate their most recent result against Shels when goals at Tolka Park from Liam Burt, Dawson Devoy, Kris Twardek and Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe gave the Gypsies their most comprehensive result of the season.

Manager Keith Long said: “After a couple of weeks away from competitive action we are back playing and what better way to restart the campaign than in a derby in front of a packed house.

“Hopefully the game will reflect what I am sure will be a terrific atmosphere.”

There have been changes to the squad in that short break too, with the loan deals of Sam Packham and Ryan Cassidy coming to an end.

There are three new faces signed up – full-back Ryan Burke, centre-back Josh Kerr and midfielder John O’Sullivan.

The trio are not available for tonight’s game or next week’s against Shamrock Rovers but will come into contention once the transfer window opens on July 1.

Long said: “These are players who I really believe will help strengthen our squad and provide healthy competition for our group.

“They are obviously coming from the traditional season and will require several weeks to get up to match speed and fitness, but we hope they can contribute quickly once international clearance comes through from July 1.

“Hopefully, we will be able to make some more additions over the coming weeks with so much to play for in the second half of the season.

“It takes time to build a squad. For far too long we have witnessed our best players leaving the club and hopefully our attempts to attract players on longer term contracts gives us stability on the pitch now that we have it thankfully off it.

“Our club is now in a strong position having transitioned from the best part-time club in the country to a club that wants to challenge and challenge repeatedly and sustainably.
“That might seem a long way off at this minute when you look at the current league table but I don’t believe we are a million miles off. If we can add to our squad again this window and the next I believe it will put us in a great position as we move forward.”

While the club has been boosted with new arrivals, there was a blow during the break when goalkeeper James Tablout suffered a shoulder injury in training while on duty with Ireland.

Long added: “Unfortunately, we are going to be without the services of James for a significant amount of time.

“James has been exceptional since he came to the club. Any team would miss a player and person of his calibre.

“I am gutted for James, but I am sure he will do everything in his power to get back to fitness as quickly as possible.

“Thankfully, we have Tadhg Ryan who, since coming to the club, has bided his time patiently and is more than capable of stepping into the breach.

“It can be a lonely station for goalkeepers waiting in the wings for an opportunity, but Tadhg has been the ultimate professional and his time is now.

“I am confident that he will show his quality in James’ absence.”

Another man on the sidelines is Grant Horton who has impressed at centre-back on loan from Cheltenham.

Long added: “Grant has had knee surgery to repair a small issue with his meniscus and will complete his rehab with Cheltenham with a view to coming back to us to finalise his rehab and have him ready potentially for the latter half of July.

“Grant, prior to his injury, was in good form and we are looking forward to having him available as we attempt to attack the second half of the season.”

TEAM NEWS

Bohemians are without James Talbot (shoulder), Tyreke Wilson (suspended) and Grant Horton (knee).

Ryan Cassidy and Sam Packham have left the club after their loans from Watford and Brighton came to an end.

New signings Josh Kerr, Ryan Burke and John O’Sullivan are not eligible until the transfer window opens on July 1.

Preview: Bohemians v Sligo Rovers

Bohemians will tonight look to bounce back from last week’s defeat away to Dundalk and instead bring the same energy and composure displayed in their previous game against Derry City a fortnight ago when Sligo Rovers provide the opposition at Dalymount Park.

Bohs drew 1-1 with the then league leaders on that occasion but despite a good first-half performance and a half-time lead against the Lilywhites last week, their good work was undone with a disappointing second-half display that culminated in a 3-1 defeat.

Manager Keith Long said: “It has been a few weeks since our last game in Dalymount. Our victory over UCD was followed up with a really good away point and team performance in Derry.

“It was probably our most complete performance of the season and we felt more than a little aggrieved not to come away with all three points but pleased with the performance levels from the players who worked extremely hard, managed the game well and caused Derry problems on the counter attack creating several goal scoring opportunities.

“Frustratingly we then underperformed in Oriel park last Friday.

“Our performance was flat and lacked energy. We didn’t win our duels and simply did not function as a team despite taking a first half lead and going in ahead at the break.

“We conceded some poor goals in the second half and we were well beaten in the end, which was extremely disappointing.”

One of Bohs’ previous most notable performances this season was against tonight’s opponents when a notably vocal travelling support helped Long’s side on to victory in a midweek fixture at the Showgrounds last month.

Long added: “We have an opportunity now to try and make amends.

“Sligo are a good side and will provide tough opposition as they always do but we are at home and we want to make home advantage work for us.

“We are incredibly lucky to be supported by a brilliant fanbase who we know will get behind us tonight.

“That support be it here in Dalymount, away in Oriel Park or up the Brandywell is never taken for granted.

“We want to represent them well on the pitch and we hope we can send them home happy with a performance to be proud of.”

TEAM NEWS

James Finnerty (head) is set to return but Liam Burt (groin) faces a late fitness test.

Stephen Mallon (ankle) remains out as does Grant Horton who will undergo knee surgery next week.

PREVIEW: DUNDALK v BOHEMIANS

Bohemians put in one of their best performances of the season in last week’s draw away to league leaders Derry City.

Now they want to follow it up in what is another tough away game away to Dundalk in Oriel Park this evening.

Three points separate the sides tonight with Dundalk in fourth on 22 and Bohs in sixth on 19.

Bohs will take confidence going into the game after impressing on Foyleside last week.

Promise Omochere’s fifth goal of the season gave Bohs the lead on 15 minutes but a shocking decision to award Derry City levelled up the game, and that is how it finished.

It is a measure of Bohs’ performance and the chances that they created that they came away from one of the most difficult grounds in the league to get a result disappointed that they were not travelling home with all three points.

Liam Burt, who set up Omochere’s goal, said: “It felt like two points dropped. We always try to go up there and win.

 

“To go up there and perform as well as we did. We were disappointed with the penalty decision but we could have gone on to win it – we had the better chances in the last 10/15 minutes so we were disappointed.”

Having missed the opening three games of the season through injury, coming off the bench as a substitute in the next three, Burt has really found his groove since, starting eight games in succession where he has helped himself to three goals and three assists.

He said: “The first few games when I was coming in for 15 minutes of so, I was just finding my feet a bit.

“In the last number of games I have felt a lot more like myself. I am getting back to what I used to be. Hopefully I can continue that.”

He hopes that will be the case this evening when Keith Long’s men face Stephen O’Donnell’s Lilywhites.

Burt added: “We had a really good week of training last week and I think that showed in our performance against Derry.

“The full week leading up to a game gives us a good run of training, analysis and workouts.

“Dundalk are in great form. It will be a tough ask to go up there to get a result but we are going up there positive.

“We have a lot of things going for us. We had a good win last week so we want to continue that.”

TEAM NEWS

Jordan Flores (illness) returns to the squad against his former club having been a late withdrawal last week, while Rory Feely (ankle) is making good progress and could also be in line to return.

Grant Horton (knee) remains a doubt, James Finnerty is out after taking a blow to the head in training, while Stephen Mallon (ankle) remains out.

PREVIEW: DERRY CITY v BOHEMIANS

Bohemians face possibly their toughest test of the season so far when they travel to face league leaders Derry City tonight.

Bohs bounced back from Dublin derby disappointment against Shamrock Rovers with a 3-0 win over the division’s bottom side UCD at Dalymount Park last Friday.

Doherty, who started the season in midfield but has deputised in the heart of defence due to injuries to Grant Horton, James Finnerty and Rory Feely, said: “It was good to get the three points.

“It wasn’t a great performance but it was a good performance and it was important to get a clean sheet.

“I am going to do my best day in and day out and take every opportunity that comes my way.

“It’s going to be a tough game and it is not the easiest place to go to. Derry are a good side. They are sitting on top of the table for a reason.

“But we are focusing on ourselves and working hard in the training ground. We are excited to go up there and hopefully get the win.”

Stephen Mallon, who impressed at the start of the season, is hoping he will get the opportunity against his former club having missed recent weeks with an ankle injury.

The Belfast man said: “It has been a frustrating time the last few weeks. but I am back now in training and looking forward to the challenge in Derry.

“I watched a lot from the stand last year so I have that hunger and desire to get back on the pitch.

“We want to build momentum, we want to build on our performance against UCD and put a run together.

“I enjoyed my time with Derry City but I’ll be doing everything I can to beat them.”

TEAM NEWS

Bohs are likely to be without James Finnerty (knee), Grant Horton (knee) and Rory Feely (ankle) but are hopeful that Stephen Mallon (ankle) will return.

Preview: Bohemians v UCD

Keith Long wants a quick response from his side when they host UCD at Dalymount Park tonight as Bohemians look to move up a congested league table.

They face the league’s bottom side, but a team they struggled to break down the last time they met six weeks ago when the spoils were shared after a 1-1 draw in Belfield.

Bohs come into the game licking their wounds after a 3-1 defeat to champions Shamrock Rovers last week at the same venue.

Bohs found themselves 2-0 down at the break after a disappointing first-half showing, but battled hard to get back into the game when Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe scored on 69 minutes only for Rovers to reinstate their two-goal advantage a minute later.

Long said: “It is important that we react in the right manner after last week’s defeat to Rovers and to try and bounce back quickly tonight against UCD.

“We know we are a little bit short of where we would like to be at this point in the season but we also know things can change quickly.

“We also know that you don’t get anything for free in this league and you have to earn every point that you get.

“UCD are always dangerous opponents and caused us massive problems in our last game in the UCD Bowl.

“They have good young players and can hurt you if your performance levels are not right.

“From our perspective, we know we have to perform better and perform consistently better. The players are working extremely hard in training and in the analysis room to improve performances.

“To their credit, the lads have always accepted responsibility and are determined to put things right.

“We need to remain positive, our season is very much alive and I believe we can put a good run together and climb the table.”

With another big Bohs crowd expected in both the Jodi Stand and Des Kelly Stand tonight, Long is hoping the home support can give his side a big lift.

He added: “The support last week in difficult circumstances was terrific. Tonight is another Dublin Derby, there are three points on offer as there was last week.

“These are the games that our season will be defined on and in that respect your support is vital for the players.

“I absolutely accept we have a responsibility to get you on the edge of your seat watching the team play and at times this year that has been difficult.

“We need your support, it genuinely can be the difference. Hopefully we can repay the faith you have shown in the team with a strong performance and committed team display.”

TEAM NEWS

Rory Feely (ankle) and James Finnerty (knee) are out while Stephen Mallon (ankle), Conor Levingstson (hamstring) and Grant Horton (knee) are doubts.

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