Two fan-owned clubs meet each other on Saturday evening when Bohemians host FC United of Manchester at Dalymount Park (kick-off 3pm).
Bohemians come into this friendly off the back of a loss at home to Dundalk on Wednesday night but also have plenty of positives to take off-the-field.
They have recently signed Ciaran O’Connor on loan from Dundalk, Keith Dalton from the same club but also welcome back Izzy Akinade from injury.
After having a striker shortage for a few weeks earlier in the season and not scoring goals due to star striker Dinny Corcoran’s absence, the Phibsborough club now have four fit strikers to choose from: the aforementioned trio of Corcoran, Akinade and O’Connor as well as recent signing Steo Donnelly from AUL side Usher Celtic.
He recently netted four goals in a 5-0 win in a low-key friendly win over Kilbarrack United last Saturday after their league game with Cork City was postponed.
On Wednesday night, they gave a good showing against the champions – a game brought forward 48 hours due to Dundalk’s impending Champions League qualifier against Rosenborg – succumbing to a 1-0 defeat by a late, late goal by substitute Ciaran Kilduff.
They gave a good account of themselves and were well in the game with the Gypsies’ midfield having the upper hand over the Lilywhite’s midfield. It was most definitely a cruel defeat for Bohemians.
The Gypsies will see this game as a great opportunity to play a game without the stress of their league campaign to worry about and one would think it is an ideal game for Keith Long to introduce fringe players, who would hope to impress in order to get into the starting XI in the league.
Players like Greg Murray, Stephen Best, Dylan Hayes and Paddy Kavanagh will be looking to impress their boss, as well as the recent signings mentioned above. All are fit and available for this game and it also may offer fans a glimpse of O’Connor in action.
The Dundalk result leaves Bohs with a record of eight wins, two draws and ten defeats after 20 games, in seventh place with a total of 26 points: one point and one place below Limerick.
The fans have witnessed three wins, two draws and five defeats at their ground – not a great home record – so getting the win tonight would really get fans upbeat somewhat ahead of their visit to Finn Harps on Friday.
FC UNITED OF MANCHESTER
FC United of Manchester compete in England's National League North, the sixth tier of the league system, and play their home matches at Broadhurst Park.
Manchester United supporters founded the club 12 years ago in opposition to Macolm Glazer's takeover of the club.
They achieved three consecutive promotions in their first three years of existence. Two years on from them, they were promoted for a fourth time. The team are managed by Karl Marginson, who’s been there since the club was founded.
They have recently recruited heavily in the off-season with four new recruits announced, with more on their way one would imagine. They’d be hoping to push up near the play-offs for this coming season, in order to continue their trend of promotions since their creation.
Just like their opponents on Saturday, they too have a development fund which is contributed to by the fans, having so far raised £136,000 for their future in the game.
The squad arrived in Dublin on Thursday where they’ll face Bohs before heading back home to England for away friendly clashes with Congleton Town, rivals Salford City, Stalybridge Celtic, Abbey Hey, South Shields and Ashton Town.
They end their pre-season schedule with home ties against Bolton Wanderers and Fleetwood Town.
For Marginson's charges – like every other club in pre-season – the result and performance is of secondary importance and the primary focus is to build up fitness, match sharpness and rhythm for the season ahead.
Last season, FC United finished in 13th in the National League North with 14 wins, 12 draws and 16 losses after 42 games. Respectable enough, considering they were only promoted to the league two years previous. A.F.C Flyde won the league last year, and FC Halifax Town also gained promotion to the National League via the play-offs.
FC United are the largest fan-owned football club in the United Kingdom by number of members and have one of the highest home attendances in English non-league football.
The club is run by its members who have equal voting rights and own one share in the club each.
This is the first ever meeting between the sides.
Derry City talisman Rory Patterson – who recently return from a long-term injury – had two spells with the English club. He spent three years (2005-2008) with them, scoring an impressive 99 goals in 129 appearances. He went back in 2015 but the return was not as fruitful, scoring no goals and making just five appearances.
Bohemians 2-1 FC United of Manchester
Injured: Eoin Wearen.
FC United of Manchester