Keith Long: Bohs have a licence to go for broke against Dundalk
Boss says Sligo Rovers and Bray Wanderers wins are encouraging
Bohemians manager Keith Long: “If everyone gives a fully focused performance, we can put it up to anyone in this league.” Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho
Bohemians manager Keith Long reckons his side’s recent wins against other sides in the bottom half of the table have given Bohemians some licence to go for broke against Dundalk on Friday evening, despite the EA Sports Cup encounter with the league leaders earlier this month which the Dubliners lost 3-0.
“With respect to Sligo Rovers and Bray Wanderers, Dundalk are on another level to most teams in the league,” says Long, who will have Paddy Kavanagh back but doubts about Keith Ward and Derek Pender. “But those two wins allow us to have a go at them tomorrow night. On our day, if everyone gives a fully focused performance, we can put it up to anyone in this league.”
Dundalk have some difficulties of their own heading into the game, with Stephen Kenny admitting that John Mountney will be out for at least six weeks due to knee ligament damage while Sean Gannon (ribs), Stephen O’Driscoll (broken leg) and Karolis Chvedukis (ankle) are already on the injury list.
“It has been challenging for the team,” says Kenny. “We have had a lot of things go against us this season but the players have responded brilliantly. They have shown the right attitude.”
Cork City will, of course, be hoping that Dundalk slip up and they beat Bray in front of another big crowd at Turner’s Cross, but John Caulfield has a few problems of his own with John Dunleavy, Alan Bennett, Gearóid Morrissey and Steven Beattie all likely to miss out for the home side this evening.
Interim Wanderers boss Graham Kelly has bigger problems than that, with seven players definitely ruled out, including Aaron Greene, Hugh Douglas and Jake Kelly, but their hosts won’t take them lightly, he insists.
“The performance against Waterford [a 2-2 draw] was really impressive and John Caulfield was there to see it. He’ll have been happy to see us take a point in that game, but now he’ll know that his side has to beat us, and we’ll be determined to take something from the game.”
When the two sides last met at the Carlisle Grounds, City won 4-0, but Bray’s recent form suggests this might at least be a good deal tighter than that.
Conor McDermott, Nicky Lowe and Ronan Curtis are all doubts for Derry City as they head to Inchicore to face a St Patrick’s side that has hit a bit of form since the hammering by Dundalk a few weeks back. Owen Garvan is the home side’s only absentee as they look to make amends for an away defeat that Liam Buckley felt was a bit of an injustice.
And Waterford are under a bit of pressure to get back to winning ways against Limerick after losing a little bit of ground on the two top sides.
Alan Reynolds is adamant that he is taking nothing for granted against Limerick but it would clearly be a blow not to take all three points after winning away 2-0 a couple of months back.