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Relegation threatened Limerick will play host to Europa League chasing Bohemians in an intriguing encounter in the SSE Airtricity Premier Division at the Market’s Field on Saturday evening (kick-off 6.30pm).
Limerick will be desperately looking to get back to winning ways in the league to ease their relegation worries with a victory over Bohemians. The Super Blues suffered a disappointing 2-0 defeat at home at the hands of Shamrock Rovers on Tuesday evening leaving the Shannonsiders just a point above the drop zone.
It was a disappointing result for the Treaty men especially coming off the back of a resounding 3-0 away win over Cobh Ramblers at St. Colman’s Park in the second round of the FAI Cup last Saturday night.
A double salvo from Garbhan Coughlan and a strike Chiedozie Ogbene in the first half did the damage and helped Limerick to progress to the next round and a home tie against Finn Harps.
The Super Blues league form has been dreadful over the past few months with the side from the Mid-West picking up just one win in their last six matches in the SSE Airtricity Premier Division with a 2-0 away win over bottom side Drogheda United at United Park and have now lost four of their last five league matches.
Limerick boss Neil McDonald was clearly left disappointed by the defeat to Shamrock Rovers telling www.limerickleader.ie “all my emotions are all over the place at the moment so I have to be careful what I say. I think we were not very good tonight, certainly with the ball. I thought defensively not too bad, but we have conceded another goal from a set play.”
Limerick boss McDonald empathises with the feeling of frustration from the Super Blues supporters stating “I totally agree with the fans. I thought the fans had every right to shout and bawl at me as well as the players because we have let the fans down today.”
Limerick need to stop the rot and earn a much needed three points to avoid being dragged further into a relegation battle.
Bohs will be looking to bolster their European ambitions by taking all three points back to the capital with them after a tricky trip to the Mid-West.
The Gypsies look to quickly erase the memories of the bitter disappointment of being dumped out of the FAI Cup at the hands of Finn Harps at Ballybofey in a pulsating cup tie which saw Bohs coming out on the wrong side of a seven goal thriller after extratime.
Bohs league form has been decent lately with just one defeat in their last four games with a narrow 1-0 home defeat by Derry City but are unbeaten in their last three league matches with impressive away wins over runaway league leaders Cork City (1-0) and rivals Shamrock Rovers (2-1) and a scoreless draw against Bray Wanderers at Dalymount Park in their last league outing.
The Gypsies boss Keith Long believes his side have the mental strength to put that cup defeat to one side and concentrate on getting back to winning ways telling www.bohemianfc.com.
“We all know we’ve got to pick ourselves up, we have no other choice. The lads were devastated at the manner of the defeat at Ballybofey. You could feel that in training on Sunday but we have refocused now. There’s a bright and positive atmosphere in training since.”
Bohs boss Long feels his side are not beyond danger from the relegation threat and cannot afford to get complacent. “We’ve eight really important games between now and the end of the season.
We are not out of the woods yet, despite our current position. But our recent league form has given us every reason to feel positive.”
Long expects Limerick to be a tough proposition but is feeling optimistic about his sides prospects stating “Limerick are a team in and around us so it’s important we try and give a performance capable of getting a result. Our form has been decent away from home so we have to go and give a good account of ourselves.”
Gypsies boss Long has a number of absentees with both goalkeeper Greg Murray and Eoin Wearen out through injury and both Oscar Brennan and Paddy Kavanagh are suspended.
Referee: Jim McKell
Limerick and Bohemians have met each other on two occasions already this season in the SSE Airtricity Premier Division with Bohs edging the first game 1-0 at the Markets Field in March and Limerick getting revenge with a 2-1 win at Dalymount Park in their last meeting in May.
Limerick and Bohemians have played each competitively 12 times since 2013 with the two sides virtually inseparable with 6 wins each.
Limerick scored 14 goals averaging 1.17 per game with Bohemians finding the net 17 times averaging 1.42 per game.
Limerick 5/4; Draw 23/10; Bohemians 11/5.
Limerick 2-2 Bohemians
Injured: Greg Murray, Eoin Wearen
Suspended: Oscar Brennan, Paddy Kavanagh