Keith Long refuses to entertain links to Cork job by insisting he's 'happy at Bohs'
Keith Long has laughed off suggestions that he could quit Bohemians to take up a post a Cork City.
And ahead of his club's meeting with a troubled Cork side at Dalymount Park tonight, Long says his focus is on trying to keep the talented crop of young players at Bohs instead of seeking a way out for himself.
Cork have appointed John Cotter as manager on an interim basis following the midweek exit of John Caulfield, with ex-internationals Alan Bennett and Colin Healy promoted to the first team coaching staff from their academy roles.
Already 11 points adrift of the Europa League places and enduring a run of eight games without a win, Cork cannot afford to fall any further behind in the contest for a top-four finish.
Chairman Declan Carey stated that the short-term aim was to "get back up to where we should be in the table" while for interim manager Cotter, the goal, in the short-term, is to arrest the decline.
"We know we are in for a tough game at Dalymount. It is a tough place to go and they are in good form, but we are quietly confident, and we have full belief in this squad of players and staff," says Cotter, who had been Caulfield's assistant.
Attractive Long's success at Bohemians, while working off a small budget with a part-time squad, has made him an attractive proposition for other clubs but he says he's not even in contention for the Cork post.
"I'm working with Bohs and I'm happy at Bohs. I won't be linked with the Cork job, I'm sure of it," Long said. "They will have other candidates who are well ahead of me on that list. I'm working for Bohs and I'm happy here. I've got a job to do here."
Long has been frustrated by the annual departure of players from his club to rival teams in Ireland who can outbid Bohs when it comes to player wages. Ex-Bohs man Dan Casey is in the opposing side at tonight while JJ Lunney and Izzy Akinade lined out for Waterford against Bohs last week.
The fact that current young stars of the Bohs side like James Talbot, James Finnerty, Dan Mandroiu, Conor Levingston are only on short-term contracts will spark fears of another exodus.
But while Long accepts that interest in those players is inevitable, he hopes that the off-field success at the club, with the 2,800-capacity Jodi Stand sold out for every home game this term, can help to keep them at Dalymount.
"We're trying to build a club and make it more competitive on the pitch and win some silverware," Long said.