“We want to finish the league campaign on a high”

Bohemians v Derry City - SSE Airtricity League Premier Division

St Patrick’s Athletic v Bohemians
SSE Airtricity League
Monday November 9 2020, Richmond Park, 7.30pm
Live on WatchLOI

Bohemians head into their final league game of the season tonight with second place and European football long secured.

It has been 16 days since the team’s last game, but that time has allowed one of the club’s key performers this season recover from injury.

Rob Cornwall is expected to wear the captain’s armband this evening in the absence of the suspended Keith Buckley.

The centre-back, who has recovered from an ankle injury sustained in the 3-0 win over Cork City a month ago, said: “I’ve been training for the last few weeks, so I am looking forward to hopefully getting back out on to the pitch tonight.

“It was the same injury that I got out in the game in Hungary. On both occasions they were impact injuries so there is not a lot you can do to prevent that.”

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With other first-team regulars unavailable, the 26-year-old’s experience could prove invaluable to what is the youngest team in the league and 21st youngest top-flight team in Europe.

Cornwall joined four years ago as a 22-year-old but the retirements of the likes of Shane Supple, Ian Morris and Derek Pender in recent seasons have seen him become one of the more senior members of the squad sooner than he anticipated.

He said: “It feels weird being considered one of the older lads in the team now – some of them probably think I’m older than I am because of all my grey hair!

“With Bucko out tonight, it’s a chance for us to step up – not just me but other players too. There are leaders across the team.”

With five players ruled out through injury or suspension, it is also a chance for others perhaps frustrated by their lack of game-time to make their case for a starting place in Friday week’s FAI Cup quarter-final against Dundalk, but Cornwall said nobody is looking that far ahead.

He said: “We are not looking ahead to the Dundalk game yet.

“It’s very much all about tonight. Inchicore is a hard place to go at the best of times and St Pat’s are a good team. We’re fully focused on that and trying to get three points – we want to finish the league campaign on a high.”

Just over a year ago, Bohs headed to the same venue against the same opposition needing a point to guarantee European football for the first time in eight years.

Under the cosh for much of the game, Keith Long’s men held out for a 0-0 draw. In the era of games being played behind closed doors, the post-match scenes that followed are a distant memory but Cornwall insists fans still motivate the side every time they take to the pitch.

He added: “We all remember the scenes out there last season – James Talbot’s save, the ball being cleared off the line, and what it meant to the fans when the final whistle went.

“It’s been a strange year not being able to celebrate games with fans, but we are still spurred on in the knowledge that they are cheering us on from home, and we live in hope that next season we’ll be able to have fans back with us again sooner rather than later.”

TEAM NEWS

Bohemians are without captain Keith Buckley and Anto Breslin (both suspended) as well as Andy Lyons (arm), Danny Mandroiu (groin) and Keith Ward (Achilles).

Vice captain Rob Cornwall (ankle) and Dan Casey (head) both return, while Evan Ferguson and Gavin O’Brien have been promoted from the Bohs-SKB U17s.

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