Kenna hopes Dundalk match can kickstart Bray recovery
Bohemians travel to Tallaght for derby while Cork and Waterford deal with suspensions
Bray’s Conor Kenna: ‘You look at the Champions League this week and you see that amazing things are possible.’ File photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho
Conor Kenna says he will remember Bray’s 5-0 defeat at his former club St Patrick’s Athletic last week as “the most embarrassed I have ever been on a football pitch”. Yet the 33-year-old centre half, who has taken a coaching role in the troubled club’s interim management team, believes that he and his team-mates can start the process of restoring some pride when league leaders Dundalk come to the Carlisle Grounds on Friday night.
“You look at the Champions League this week and you see that amazing things are possible,” he says. “Nobody would have expected Barcelona to be beaten 3-0, and Juventus nearly did Real as well.
“When we drew with Dundalk on the first day of the season we were getting them at a good time, they probably weren’t firing on all cylinders but we worked hard that day, we were compact, hard to beat and it’s a question of getting back to that now.”
Kenna says that he is not expecting miracles but that there “are enough decent players”, at the club to get it off the bottom of the table given how many games remain. “Clearly we all have to do more, though,” he admits. “We haven’t been good enough and inevitably the manager [Dave Mackey who resigned last weekend] gets the brunt of it but all of the players need to take a look at themselves.”
Kenna has been helping interim boss Graham Kelly this week with Martin Russell, reportedly the club’s preferred successor for Mackey, acting in an “advisory role”, for the moment. John Sullivan has been struggling with a groin strain in training but the hope is that he will be passed fit to face Stephen Kenny’s side in which case the hosts will be at full strength.
The visitors, meanwhile, are likely to be without Gary Rogers again with the goalkeeper still recovering from a calf strain sustained a couple of weeks back but Kenny is likely to make wholesale changes from the weakened side that played during the week in the EA Sports Cup.
City’s Alan Bennett will be assessed ahead of the game against St Patrick’s Athletic. Alan Reynolds has an otherwise full-strength squad to take to Derry, where the hosts will be looking to maintain their very strong start to life at the revamped Brandywell without Darren Cole and possibly Nicky Low and Ronan Curtis, both of whom are carrying knocks.
Bohemians travel to Tallaght for the night’s other top-flight game with Keith Long hoping that the rivalry between the two clubs can inspire his players to a repeat of the victory they earned against Shamrock Rovers on the opening night of the season.
It would be only the third time that Bohemians have beaten them there and only their third league win this season although Long’s side did at least manage a first clean sheet of the campaign against Limerick last week, something they will be hoping to build on.
“Previous results against Rovers will have little bearing on this one,” says Long. “Previous meetings, form, your position in the table . . . they can go out the window. It can come down to which side wants it more.”
Dan Casey misses the game after having suffered a concussion in the scoreless draw with Limerick while Oscar Brennan and Philly Gannon are also out. Derek Pender has a chance of featuring after a return to training and both Rob Cornwall and Paddy Kavanagh are back in contention.
Rovers manager Stephen Bradley is without Seán Boyd and Joey O’Brien, meanwhile, but there is some good news with Trevor Clarke in with a shout of returning before the end of the season after his operation on a cruciate injury went well.
Fixtures (7.45pm unless stated)
Bray Wanderers v Dundalk
Cork City v St Patrick’s Athletic
Derry City v Waterford
Shamrock Rovers v Bohemians (8pm)
Athlone Town v Cobh Ramblers
Cabinteely v Shelbourne
Drogheda United v Longford Town
Galway United v Wexford
UCD v Finn Harps