“There is expectation at both clubs, but we are still underdogs”

Danny Grant netted Bohs' third on Friday - Stephen Burke

SHAMROCK ROVERS v BOHEMIANS
SSE Airtricity League
Tuesday April 23 2019, Tallaght Stadium, 8pm

Keith Long knows Bohemians will have to adjust quickly to the heat of the Dublin derby cauldron to get a result in Tallaght tomorrow.

Bohs have had the upper hand in this fixture in recent times – winning five and drawing one of the sides’ last six meetings.

But since the rivals last met, Shamrock Rovers have remained undefeated since, have surged to the top of the table and are chasing their ninth victory in a row.

Bohs’ form isn’t too shabby either though.

Before today’s fixtures, they moved back to second in the table on Friday – eight points behind Rovers but with a game in hand.

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Along the way rookie keeper James Talbot has kept eight clean sheets and the four goals Bohs have been conceded have been from two penalties, a free-kick and a corner.

Long said: “We’re in good form. Both teams have done very well so far this season. There is expectation at both clubs, but we are still underdogs.

“Rovers are rightly being tipped for the league title. That is to be expected given their level of investment in their squad and the quality of player they’ve brought in.

“We’ve had a good start to the season ourselves though, built on a mean defence.

“Hopefully we can start the game quickly and put in a positive performance. We’re looking forward to it.”

A good start is important. Bohs eventually racked up an impressive 3-0 win against UCD at Dalymount on Friday.

But they were a bit slow out of the traps in the first half and Long has warned his men they can’t afford a similar start against a side of Rovers’ quality.

He said: “Tomorrow will be tough. We acquitted ourselves very well in Dundalk last week, deserved a result, but couldn’t find the breakthrough.

“We followed that up with a good win against UCD but we were sluggish in the first half – we were much better in the second half – but we will need to start brightly against Rovers.”

Competition for places is the toughest it’s been at Bohs for many years.

Ahead of Friday’s game against UCD, Keith Ward admitted no matter who was picked, there was going to be someone watching on from the sidelines feeling aggrieved.

Long agrees, adding: “It’s a good problem to have. We have players pushing hard in games and in training.

“Given how well they’ve done, there are going to be lads disappointed when they’re not starting but that’s the nature of football.”

Thanks to the addition expansion of Tallaght Stadium with the addition of the South Stand, Bohs will bring their biggest ever travelling support to Dublin 24 since the venue first opened ten years ago.

The last of the club’s allocation of 1100 were sold after Friday night’s game against UCD with many supporters left disappointed.

That win against the Students was the fifth home league game of the season for Bohs – and the fifth time the Jodi Stand has sold out as Long’s team continue to attract new support.

The average attendance at Dalymount this season has been 3,211 – up 44 per cent on last year’s average.

Long said: “Our crowds have been fantastic and right behind us all year and we’ll need that in Tallaght again.

“There is great appetite for this fixture from both sets of supporters. You don’t want to let your supporters down.

“Tallaght will be like a cauldron and even more so now with the new South Stand and hopefully we can do our bit to make sure the game can live up to its billing.”

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Cristian Magerusan (cruciate) is Bohs’ only absentee. Skipper Derek Pender and Keith Ward were rested against Dundalk and UCD but both remain available for selection.

 

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