By Ed Leahy
Bohemians couldn’t have picked a worse time to take on the 2012 league champions as the Gypsies take on Sligo Rovers at Dalymount Park, kick-off 3pm.
Owen Heary’s side were on the wrong end of a 3-1 defeat on Friday night against current champions St Pat’s and they now take on a rejuvenated Sligo who have scored ten goals in their last two outings following their disastrous start to their league campaign.
Sligo, on the other hand, are hitting their potential and have enjoyed a great week smashing St Pat’s and UCD for five.
Ian Baraclough’s side had a very frustrating start to the season, compounded by an away draw in Cork that should have been a clear victory.
Sligo have been missing the influential Gavin Peers in the heart of their defence, although Jeff Henderson is now back to full fitness after recovering from a hamstring injury and his partnership with Evan McMillan will shore up their defence.
Seamus Conneely is also back and available for selection, while Raffaele Cretaro remains out with a calf injury.
“We want to keep picking up three points now,” said Baraclough. “We are playing well and the players are looking forward to each game. They are coming thick and fast and we’ve spent the weekend preparing for Monday and trying to be fresh for what will be another difficult away fixture.
“Bohemians will be well set-up, well drilled and they will try to restrict us. They have goal threats in their team as shown by the class of Jason Byrne’s strike last Friday and they gave St Pat’s a difficult game on their own patch.
But Sligo are on the march and should prove too strong for Bohemians who might struggle to name their strongest eleven, with this game coming less than three days since their defeat to St Pat’s.
Bohs lack of strength in depth was emphasised by manager Heary on Friday night as he wanted to take Jason Byrne off after 70 minutes but had no better attacking option on the bench.
And whether Byrne is again thrust into the attack against Sligo remains to be seen, with fellow striker Dinny Corcoran, who has already scored three league goals this season, still out injured.
Gypsies boss Heary is well aware of the threat that is posed by the visiting Sligo side.
"We all knew Sligo were going to come good eventually and they've shown that in their last few games where they've scored goals for fun against St Pat's and UCD and got a good draw away to Cork in between,” said Heary. “We know we're up against one of the best teams around."
Heary has admitted that he wanted to freshen up his side for the Sligo clash but his options are limited by the continued absence of Corcoran, who will have a scan on his knee injury on Tuesday, as well as Anto Murphy (hamstring) and Jack Memery (knee).
Goalkeeper Dean Delany returns to the squad after serving his additional one-match ban for the red card he received against Bray Wanderers earlier this month. And he should expect to be busy.
Verdict: Sligo Rovers