He’s banned from playing any part in what is the first FAI Cup final in his 28-year career as a player and manager, but Bohemians boss Keith Long says he will try to use his suspension for Sunday’s decider to his advantage.
Bohs have made the final for the first time since their last win, in 2008, but Long will play a very limited role on the day, punishment for a sending-off in the last home league game of the season against Shamrock Rovers. Under FAI rules he must stay clear of contact with the squad, and avoid the dugout and playing area, for an hour before and after kick-off. Last season, Rovers manager Stephen Bradley was also banned for the final, where the Hoops lost to Dundalk.
Long laughed at the suggesting of sneaking into the dressing room, Jose Mourinho-style, in a laundry cart, but says he will keep a focus, from afar, and not allow his touchline ban to cause a problem.
“It’s not something I’ve overly thought about or let consume my thoughts. I just try to look at it in a positive light as a different way of watching the game, a different experience,” says Long.
“It’s my first FAI Cup final as a manager or a player so it’s going to be a different experience anyway. It’s just slightly different, the team prep, everything will be geared towards performance on Sunday. It’s about players putting in a performance, it’s not about me being suspended or watching the game from a different part of the ground.
“I’ll watch the game from a different vantage point and maybe it could be an advantage because you’re looking at the game from a different perspective, different lens, so we’ve got to try to use that to our advantage if we can. I’ve got a very experienced backroom team, Trevor [Croly] will lead the team on Sunday from the line, Derek Pender will come onto the bench, along with the rest of the backroom and technical staff that would be on the bench,” added Long, who is pleased to see front man Georgie Kelly fit in time after a calf injury.
“We thought it would have been very touch and go but he seems to be ahead of that. He’ll train this week, touch wood everything will go well and he’ll be available for selection on Sunday.”