Bohemians manager Keith Long has aired his deep frustration with a hectic schedule that will end with his side having played six games in 18 days.

Long, speaking in the aftermath of Bohs' 2-1 loss to Dundalk in the Premier Division at Oriel Park, highlighted player welfare in the midst of what has been a demanding period. To compound matters, his side will then have a two-week gap where they'll have no games.

"We've played six games in 18 days and now we have to make sure we come out of this congested period on Saturday in Longford with a win down there," he said.

"And then we have a couple of weeks' break, which is the madness of it all. We'll play zero games for two weeks because of an international window. These are conversations that we need to address and address them in a manner that is fair for the players and the welfare of the players. Because it's not good.

"Some of our players are full-time, some of them are part-time. A lot of them have gone to college, gone to work. Some of them have to clock in in the morning and they don't get a chance to recover properly.

"It's difficult for them."

Bohemians remain fourth in the Premier Division table, seven points shy of an automatic European place. They also have an FAI Cup semi-final date to look forward to against Waterford FC on 23 October.

Still a lot to play for then, with Long now hoping that his charges can be more defensively solid for the rest of the campaign.

"We need to stop the concession of some of the goals that we have let in recently. We need to get back to building a platform with clean sheets and showcase the talent we have.

"We need to do the basics of the game well. Defending is a major part of the game and if you don't keep clean sheets, you're not going to win football games. To give Dundalk a 2-0 lead is a big ask. They were bad goals to concede."

Keith Buckley of Bohemians controls the ball ahead of Patrick Hoban

A stat that has no doubt frustrates Long is the number of league games lost so far this season - 11 out of 27 games is too high.

"The frustration for us is that we've been very inconsistent this year. We've lost a lot of games, and that's disappointing," he added.

"But we've got to remember that we are young. The players will make mistakes and we've got to learn from those mistakes and try to move on and be better. Tonight, coming to Oriel Park, I thought we more than matched them throughout the game. We conceded some bad goals and unfortunately gave ourselves too much of a mountain to climb.

"[Making a cup final] would be great for the club and everybody connected with the club but we've got a number of weeks to pass before the 23 October. We've got to focus on Saturday and Longford. The cup will take care of itself at that time. We're looking forward to it, no doubt about that. I'm sure Waterford are the same.

"But in the meantime, we need to address some of the issues we're seeing. Get back on the training ground which is really important for us because we haven't been able to do a huge amount of work on the training pitch. We need to get back to doing the basics well, keeping clean sheets."

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