“The players will need no motivation”

BOHEMIANS v SHAMROCK ROVERS
SSE Airtricity League, Dalymount Park, Friday 12 June, 7.35pm

Bohemians have to put Tuesday’s defeat behind them quickly and put in a “big performance” in another Dublin derby, according to manager Keith Long.

For the third time in seven days Bohemians face top-five opposition when Shamrock Rovers come to Dalymount. But Long is confident his team can quickly get over the disappointment of Tuesday’s game.

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“We’re not in bad form because of one defeat. We have put Tuesday’s loss behind us, and I expect the players to put in a big performance on Friday night against out fiercest rivals,” he said.

“It’s a quick turn-around and we can’t dwell on the Pat’s result. In training, the lads have been bright and breezy and cannot wait for Friday’s game.”

Long considers that the big demand of the schedule on a part-time squad, the injuries in the squad, and St Patrick’s Athletic finding their best form all contributed to Tuesday’s loss.

“Overall, we’ve got to be positive. We put in a great performance up in Dundalk, not so good on Tuesday. But you have to give credit to Pat’s as well, who are a very good side and who have found their rhythm of late.”

Rovers come to this game after high-scoring victories at home against Derry City and Sligo Rovers in the past week.

“They’ll be full of confidence coming to Dalymount Park, and wanting the win. But from our perspective, we’ve got to make sure our players want it more than they do. It can come down to that in a derby game,” said Long.

“Friday’s is a massive game for us, one we’ve been looking forward to all season and the players will need no motivation for it.”

Long expects to have Dave Mulcahy back, having missed Tuesday’s game with a calf injury, and possibly Anto Murphy (ankle). Stephen Best, who got a kick in the head against Dundalk, will be available for Friday. But Robbie Creevy who was subbed in the first half against St Patrick’s Athletic is likely to be out with a groin injury.

Longer-term absentee Paddy Kavanagh (knee) will be sidelined until after the summer break, and Dan Byrne has had a set-back in his return to action. He came on as a sub in the FAI Cup match against Firhouse Celtic two weeks ago after a long absence with cruciate injury. But he is out again, probably for a month, with a knee cartilage problem.

Marc Griffin (cruciate) and Derek Pender (Achilles) remain on the long-term injury list.

“We’ll be going there to have a go”

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC v BOHEMIANS
SSE Airtricity League, Richmond Park, Tuesday 9th June, 7.45pm

Bohemians boss Keith Long is hopeful his side can build on a good team performance against Dundalk last Friday as they head into two crunch Dublin derby fixtures over the next four days. The Gypsies travel to Inchicore to face St Patrick’s Athletic tomorrow night before a clash with Shamrock Rovers at home on Friday.

Reflecting on a magnificent result against the Champions and league leaders, Long was quick to praise the resolve and work-rate of his players. “I’m delighted for the players. In every aspect of the game they did what we asked them to do. They defended when they had to defend and were brave when they had the ball,” said Long.

“We worked extremely hard and I thought we were good value for the win. Dundalk are champions for a reason, so going up there and picking up three points was fantastic for us.”

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The manager was delighted to see a return to top form for his team, who are now just one victory away from matching their win tally from the 2014 season, with less than half of this campaign gone. “I think Friday was a real return to what we’re about. The lads went out and worked extremely hard for each other,” said Long.

“That’s the foundation for everything we do. If we work hard and we’re honest, we’ve got a chance. The players recognise what they need to do to win football matches, and I think we’ve shown that we’re more than a match for any team in this league.”

With that result in the bag, Bohs can look forward without fear to games against the teams directly below and above them in the table this week.

“It’s going to be a difficult task, but we’ll go to inchicore in a good frame of mind. I don’t think any team holds any fear for us. Obviously, we’ve great respect for St Pat’s, but it’s not about them from our point of view,” said Long. “We’ll be going there to have a go, as we have done in all the games so far.”

The Bohs boss knows that Liam Buckley’s side are a threat, with the Saints having won in Dalymount Park earlier in the season. “Pat’s are a good footballing side, they can punish you in a lot of areas. We’ve got to try and put in a good performance, and if we play close to how we did on Friday, we’ve got a great chance.”

Long will have to plan without Stephen Best after the defender suffered a head injury on Friday. Dave Mulcahy, Paddy Kavanagh, and Anto Murphy are all doubts for the clash against St Pat’s. Derek Pender (achilles) and Marc Griffin (cruciate) remain on the long-term injury list.

“We are taking nothing for granted”

BOHEMIANS v FIRHOUSE CLOVER
Irish Daily Mail FAI Senior Cup, Dalymount Park, Friday 29 May, 7.45pm

Bohemians welcome Firhouse Clover “taking nothing for granted” but determined to regain the winning habit. Manager Keith Long is looking for a confident, positive team performance.

“The cup throws up shocks and we’re hoping Friday night won’t bring one for us,” he said.

“We are taking nothing for granted. We will be as prepared as we can be and we will give Firhouse every respect. It’s a big competition and we want to progress to the next round.”

The Bohemian manager takes some comfort from an improved defensive performance against Bray last weekend after the disappointments in two matches in Galway.

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“But we need to be better in possession, penetrate more and create goal-scoring opportunities. We didn’t do that enough against Bray. A good result and performance on Friday will give us confidence ahead of our league fixture in Dundalk the following week,”
Long has to prepare for this cup tie and for the rest of the season without captain Derek Pender who faces an operation next week for an Achilles injury.

“Derek has been a huge player for us. He may not be the most vociferous of captains but when he talks, people listen. He leads by example in his displays and to have his influence taken away at this stage is very disappointing,” said Long.

Dave Mulcahy (hamstring) was injured in the EA Sports Cup replay against Galway and is out for the FAI Cup tie, as are Anto Murphy (ankle) and Paddy Kavanagh (knee), both injured in last Friday’s game.

Dean Delany is available again, having missed the Bray match through suspension, but substitute goalkeeper Lee Steacy put himself in contention with his clean sheet.

Firhouse Clover are in the FAI Senior Cup on the strength of reaching the semi-final of the FAI Intermediate Cup, where they were knocked out by the eventual trophy-winners Crumlin United. In the first round of the FAI Senior Cup a month ago, Firhouse Clover beat Glenville 1-0.

Firhouse play in the top division of the Leinster Senior League and are currently mid-table. Last weekend they beat Bluebell United to win the Lanigan Cup.

The club was formed in 2007 through the amalgamation of Firhouse Celtic and Clover United, and is based at Tallaght IT sports grounds.

“We’re at home, the onus is on us”

BOHEMIANS v BRAY WANDERERS
SSE Airtricity League, Dalymount Park, Friday 21st May, k-o 7.45pm

Bohemians boss Keith Long is hopeful his players can bounce back from a disappointing weekend in Galway and get back to winning ways at home to Bray Wanderers this Friday.

The Gypsies suffered an uncharacteristic 5-3 defeat in the league and were beaten by a solitary goal after extra time in the EA Sports Cup on Monday, but Long is keen to ensure that the trend doesn’t continue.

“We were disappointed. From our point of view it was a drop from the level the players have set for themselves this season. We made mistakes and were punished – you can’t afford to do that in any game,” said Long.

“It’s one of those things that can happen in football, you can have an off night. But we have to put it behind us, we have to learn the lessons from Friday and ensure that we put in an improved performance against Bray at home.”

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After tasting back-to-back defeats for the first time this season, Long insists the players are keen to get back to winning ways against Trevor Croly’s men. “We’re at home, the onus is on us to go out and win the game, and that’s the way we approach it. But we know Bray will be a tough game. They’re scrapping for points, and there’s no easy games in this league.

“I expect them to be well-organised. I watched them last week [against St Pat's] and they defended very well. Obviously a new manager brings new ideas, a new voice in the dressing room, and their players will get a bounce from that.”

The Bohs boss also had a special word for the Dalymount Park fans, who were in great voice in the last home game against Limerick. “It’s massive, I don’t think you can overestimate the importance of the supporters getting behind the team,” said Long.

“It’s vital. Players get a lift when the supporters get behind them and encourage them. In the last 15 minutes against Limerick we played on the front foot and got them excited. We’ve got to try and set the tempo tomorrow, and the supporters play a huge role in that.”

Goalkeeper Dean Delany is suspended following his late red card in the league game against Galway. Bohs have fitness concerns over Derek Pender, Anto Murphy, Dave Mulcahy, Dean Kelly, and Paddy Kavanagh, who will all be assessed before Friday’s game.

“I expect to see a reaction from the players”

GALWAY UNITED v BOHEMIANS
EA Sports Cup quarter-final, Eamonn Deacy Park, Monday 18 May, 7.45pm

Bohemians return to Galway on Monday determined to bounce back, according to manager Keith Long.

Friday’s defeat in the league was “very disappointing”, Long said. “Our performance was nowhere near the standards we have set for ourselves to date and everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong,” he added.

“But we don’t have any time to feel sorry for ourselves. We have a great opportunity to get to a semi-final and we will travel to Galway on Monday looking to bounce back.

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“It will be a test of our character and I expect to see a reaction from the players.”

Derek Pender was a late withdrawal from the squad on Friday and will have a scan on his leg on Monday.Dean Delany is available despite his sending-off. His automatic suspension will rule him our of the next league game, at home to Bray Wanderers on Friday.

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