Bohemians v Sligo Rovers - SSE Airtricity Men's Premier Division

Derek Pender says it has been a difficult week for Bohemians players but has backed them to dust themselves down and push on this season.

First-team coach Pender will take the reins against Derry City at Dalymount Park, assisted by Bohs U19 manager Trevor Croly, following the departure of manager Declan Devine and assistant manager Gary Cronin on Sunday.

As Director of Football, Pat Fenlon is overseeing a period of transition at the club, but it will be Pender taking charge of first-team affairs until a permanent manager is appointed.

Pender said: “I know my role, and I know what I have to do to get the players lifted this week and get them looking forward to the next game after what was a very tough week for everybody involved, particularly everybody who has been involved for the last 18 months with Declan.

“It’s never nice to see anybody lose their job but especially for somebody who is such a good person, and who was such a popular person around the club, and with the players and staff. He brought a lot of new players in too, so it was a bit of a shock to them as well.

“So, naturally, it was tough for everyone in training on Monday and Tuesday but, as players and as professionals, you’re gonna have to look forward. That’s really part of our game. You’re always on borrowed time if things aren’t going your way.

“It’s really unfortunate and we’re all hurt and gutted for Declan. We all know that football is never guaranteed for any of us. As a player, you could go out and get injured on a Friday night and your season’s over or you lose a game and you could lose your job as a coach, manager or assistant manager.

“That is the reality of football so no matter what, all you can do is look forward to your next game and give it everything you can and enjoy it, because you never know if you are going to have that the following week.

“We know that our job is to dust ourselves down and look forward because we know that we are only four games in, and we have to try and get a result because the club demands results and demands performances from everybody.

“Having Trevor in with the group has been great for the group in a difficult week and we are lucky to have him because Trevor is one of the best coaches in the country.”

Last Friday’s Dublin derby against Shelbourne was a scrappy affair with both sides cancelling each other out before Bohs eventually succumbed to a 2-0 defeat against the league leaders.

Pender said: “We were reasonably comfortable in the game but it was a really poor game for the spectators because nothing was really happening in it. Then the one mistake we make, the one time that we’re out of position, they punish us.

“But the reaction after they scored the peno was probably the most disappointing thing for me. I think we lacked belief to try and get back in the game and then obviously a set play kills us off then when they score from a header, which was really unfortunate because we were well in the game for long periods.”

It doesn’t get a whole lot easier for Bohs this weekend with second-placed Derry City providing the opposition.

Pender added: “Every week in this league this year is really really tough. Every team is strong and I think, over the course of the season, you’ll see mad results. Everybody can beat anybody, and that’s what we have to want to do against Derry.

“The players have had a tough week but I believe we have a really good group, we are at a massive club and we’re in Dalymount with our home fans behind us.

“Hopefully our fans can give the players a little bit of lift and as coaches, we just have to try and give the players that belief we can win going into the game.

“I certainly believe we are well capable of doing that with the group that we have here. We will make one of two changes, and we know that we need everyone playing to their maximum to get a positive result.”

Team news

Keith Buckley (knee) and Rob Cornwall (knee) remain out, Martin Miller (knee) is a doubt, while James McManus (foot) continued his recovery last week, lining out for the Bohs U20s.

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