2473332 (1)

Bohemians v Sligo Rovers
SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division
Friday June 2 2023, Dalymount Park, 7.45pm

Declan Devine’s Bohemians have worked hard to remain in the mix at top of the table but he has told his players they are going to have to work even harder to stay there.

Bohs have been frustrated in recent games and have gone without a win in four games. But the two teams of them have dropped points too, meaning Devine’s men are just four points off the top and with a game in hand.

Devine said: “I am delighted with where we are. I am delighted with who we brought in during our first transfer window. I am delighted with the group and what the group is bringing to the table.

“But it is key that week by week, we strive to get better and keep trying to pick up as many points as we possibly can.

“With three games this week, we have got to target getting as many points on board as possible. Bottom line is everybody in this league is taking points off each other and that’s the way the league is.

“There are no poor teams. There are teams that are capable on their day of winning. We have got to be completely focused and completely driven to perform.

“We have to have the same determination and focus on the same drive to get the maximum points from every game that we play.

“We’re not looking too far ahead. We have just got to understand that we are in the mix at this moment in time and we have to do everything to stay there.

“We have got to make sure we win our home game before we have two difficult away games in the coming weeks.”

They couldn’t find a way to break through a dogged defensive display by Shelbourne last time out and were held to a scoreless draw.

Devine said: “We knew going into the game that was the way they would set up. It’s not just ourselves who finds it very difficult to break them down. That’s just their style of play and it’s frustrating at times.

“But we have to be better in the final third. That’s the reality. We have to find a way of breaking teams down with our final pass or final ball.

“That will be the challenge again on Friday because Sligo have kept clean sheets at home to Derry and they will be looking to build on that.

“We also need to get back to winning ways and we are under no illusions. The last four games, to only pick up two points, we are fully aware that we have to get back on track in terms of getting wins, especially at home.

“It doesn’t matter who we’re playing on Friday. It’s key that we go after maximum points because it has been four or five weeks now since we achieved that.

“Some of the performances have been good but give me three points – that’s the ultimate goal, and that’s what we have got to be going after. There’s no point dressing it up any other way.’’

Bohs have already beaten Sligo this season – Krystian Nowak’s late effort the only goal of the game when the sides met in the Showgrounds in April.

Devine said: “The game down there was very tough. The surface wasn’t great and that affected both teams. Sligo like to play a good brand of football as well.

“I was at their game on Saturday night. Sligo are a good team. They’ve got good players, and they have recruited well in the last window.

“They will have been disappointed with the wee dip they had that any team can have. But they answered that emphatically with a magnificent win against Derry.

“I thought they were fully deserving of their win, so that in itself shows the capabilities of Sligo Rovers.

“But we are more than a match for anybody on our day as well. I am delighted with where the players are but now is the time to step up again, and try and collect as many points as we possibly can.

“It’s going to be extremely difficult but the pitch is in beautiful nick and we want to go play the brand of football I think that we are now starting to establish.

“I think we’re very positive in the way that we play. I think we create chances but we have got to make sure we get on the end of things and be more clinical.”

Bohs were boosted with the return off the bench of James Akintunde last week – his creative spark was sorely missed during his nine-game lay-off with a hamstring injury.

Devine added: “I think James is irreplaceable to be honest. He’s the type of player that can play three or four different positions, has the ability to hold the ball up, and has the ability to play.

“He gives the rest of the team a lot of confidence. He’s such a brilliant person and an energetic person. He lifts everybody’s spirits and having him back in last week was fantastic to see because we really must.

“Any team would miss James Akintunde for what he brings. I have full trust in him that he will come in and give everything but we have to be careful that we don’t rush him back by doing too much too soon.

“He is in contention to play but how long he gets or whether he comes off the bench is something we have to monitor.”


Keith Buckley returns from suspension but James McManus serves a one-match ban.

Dean Williams (ankle) is likely to be sidelined for a number of weeks, Dylan Connolly (ribs) remains out, while Johnny Afolabi (ankle) is a doubt.

Website by Simon Alcock