| 9.3°C Dublin

Callaghan tips Byrne to make it big in Britain

BOHEMIANS boss Aaron Callaghan believes that young Gypsies defender Luke Byrne could be the next player to join the cross-channel exodus from the League of Ireland.

Bohs take a welcome break from their difficult league campaign tonight when they take on Crusaders in the second leg of their Setanta Sports Cup quarter-final, the tie evenly poised after a first-leg scoreless draw in Belfast earlier this month.

Callaghan's men are bottom of the Premier Division table with no points and no goals from three games.

And they're in for a stiff test tonight against a Crues side which contains three senior Northern Ireland internationals.

Injuries to players Evan McMillan, Stephen Traynor and Keith Ward will force Callaghan to again rely on some of his younger squad members.

Byrne, Correy Davidson and John O'Connor have all made their LOI debuts this season in a Bohemians shirt.

Left back Byrne (pictured) has already caught the eye and his manager believes that he could follow ex-Bohs men like Stephen Ward, Matt Doherty and Gary Deegan by making an impact abroad after leaving Dalymount Park.

"Luke has done really well for us this season and he is going to be some player," says Callaghan.

"He definitely has the potential to play at a high level abroad and I know that three or four British clubs have already taken a look at him.

"I saw a lot of Enda Stevens at the start of his career and Luke is a better player than Enda was at this stage of their careers.

"I don't want to lose him and I would love him to at least stay at Bohemians for this season. He has ability but also a great attitude and he has been superb for us."

The Bohs boss says he's been impressed with the attitude of his players across the board.

"Away to Sligo last week, and away to Derry before that, we played really well for most of the game and it looked like we'd get something from the game but a lack of concentration at crucial moments cost us," he says.

"Of course I'm not happy to see us bottom of the table but I am not too concerned at this stage. We have had chances in all of our games and have deserved more from the matches."

Even though Bohs have two very tough Dublin derbies on the way -- joint league leaders St Pats and Shamrock Rovers are next up -- Callaghan will not rest players for tonight's Cup tie and will focus on winning the game and trying to win the Setanta Cup.

"It's a competition we want to win and once you get into the last four you have a great chance, so we'll go out to win the game tonight," added Callaghan, who played for and managed Crusaders in the 1990s.