Thursday 22 March 2018

Bohemians ready for Long-term challenge

Shamrock Rovers' Brandon Miele has reacted well since coming home from Newcastle
Shamrock Rovers' Brandon Miele has reacted well since coming home from Newcastle
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Bohemians boss Keith Long has admitted his side's impressive opening to the season has surprised most people in his dressing room as well as those outside.

The Gypsies will sit third after the first series of games if they can defeat title-chasing Cork City at Dalymount Park this evening and Long believes his group are more than a flash in the pan.

"It's no longer a question of just a good start," said Long. "The league doesn't lie and 20 points from 10 games is a decent return.

"We have surprised many people so far and we've probably surprised ourselves to a certain extent. But I believe in the players and in the mentality of this group, and I think there's more in them.

"We have everybody available and we need everybody pushing to achieve whatever it is we can achieve. At this stage, we don't know what that is but we cannot and will not get ahead of ourselves.

"We've asked the players to express themselves. They've shown in their performances that they have a belief in what they're doing," added Long.

Champions Dundalk lead the way and they will be expected to take full points against Bray Wanderers today.

Shamrock Rovers boss Pat Fenlon was full of praise for the defending champions after his side's victory over Drogheda on Friday, but stressed he is happy with his unbeaten group who will be six behind if Dundalk win.

"They've started brilliantly but we've had a good start with a lot of new players, a big turnover, and we're delighted with the way it's going so far," said Fenlon. The Hoops were a bit sluggish against Drogheda and it was the performance of young Brandon Miele that heartened Fenlon.

Miele linked up with Mikey Drennan for the only goal and the duo have reacted well to coming home from Newcastle and Aston Villa respectively.

"They have shown they maybe have another chance of going back over," said Fenlon. "The important thing for them is they have good senior players around like Stephen McPhail and Keith Fahey who've been great.

"You can come back and you feel like the world has ended. But Brandon and Mikey are enjoying their football now and sometimes that's the most important thing."

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