Bohemians entertain Limerick at Dalymount Park on Tuesday night with the aim of overtaking the Shannonsiders in the table with a victory (kick-off 7.45 pm). The Gypsies lie in seventh place on 16 points with Limerick one place and one point better off.
Bohs enjoyed a superb 2-1 away victory over high-flying Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds last Friday night courtesy of two Dinny Corcoran goals. It was their second victory over Bray this season.
Manager Keith Long was delighted with the character shown by his team.
"We came from behind to win it and that's the second time we've done that against Bray this season, which is the kind of character we know we need. Bray were second in the table for a reason, so it was a very good result, especially given the run we were on."
Long has challenged his players to build on that recent result in the upcoming game against Limerick side with new management. The Gypsies were the first team to defeat the Super Blues this season, winning 0-1 away at the Markets Field. It was a very effective performance, particularly in defence with Shane Supple picking up the man of the match award.
Long has urged the same type of performance against a 'tough' Limerick side. "Limerick are not going to be easy opponents. They've a new manager who has worked at a very high level and while they lost to Dundalk on Friday, he will have had a few days working with them to try put his own stamp on things."
The Dubliners tactical set-up in the first game between the sides at the Markets Field was effective. A high press allowed the Bohs' players to suffocate Limericks creative players and forced mistakes in defence which unsettled the home crowd.
Long has admitted that he is unsure as to how Limerick will approach the game, as McDonald has a bit more time to work with the players. "With a new manager, we can't be sure about what way he will approach the game. Under Martin, they were quite open and expansive. We just have to be ready to adapt to whatever way they set up. But we're looking forward to it, we want to build a bit of momentum now."
The hosts have a full squad to choose from outside of long-term absentees Ishmaeil Akinade and Eoin Wearen.
Neil McDonald's opening game in charge of Limerick certainly did not go the way he had hoped. The early dismissal of goalkeeper Brendan Clarke, followed by a penalty concession soon after, contributed to a 0-3 defeat at the hands of champions Dundalk.
The new boss realises that a lot of work has to be done in the coming months. "When you lose your goalkeeper and you go down to ten men, it puts backs against the wall. To give them a penalty to take the lead gave us an uphill battle and we couldn’t get back into the game at all."
McDonald would have hoped to gain a greater idea about the qulaities and weaknesses in the squad on Friday night. However, he acknowledged that it was very difficult to do so in the circumstances. "It was very hard, very difficult. Although you can say the players certainly never gave up."
The former Blackpool boss admits it is difficult to inform the players of how he wants them to play with such a quick turnaround of games. He heaped praise on the supporters and thanked them for the welcome. "They stayed with the team all the way through. I appreciate their support for the players and the welcome they gave me."
The Limerick coaching staff will be without Brendan Clarke for the game at Dalymount following his red card on Friday night. Shaun Kelly returns to the squad following his suspension for an accumulation of yellow cards. John O'Flynn is expected to miss out through injury once more. Otherwise, there is no fresh injury news to report from the Limerick squad.
Referee: Rob Rogers
Bohemians have already beaten Limerick 0-1 this season at the Markets Field. A Dinny Corcoran goal was enough to settle it in the Gypsies favour.
Limerick have won on two of their last four visits to Daylmount park. Bohemians emerged victorious in the other two encounters.
Since 2013, both sides have won 50% of the league encounters. There has yet to be a draw in that period. Bohemians also beat Limerick in the F.A.I cup in 2014.
Bohemians 2/1; Draw 23/10; Limerick 6/4
Bohemians 1-1 Limerick
Injured: Eoin Wearen, Ishmaeil Akinade
Injured: John O'Flynn
Doubtful: Shane Tracy
Suspended: Brendan Clarke