Bohemians manager Keith Long does not feel any added pressure from the lack of a European place through the league as they prepare for the FAI Cup final on Sunday at the Aviva Stadium.

The Gypsies were tipped to be one of the challengers to Shamrock Rovers this year in the Premier Division but had a very slow start which ended any thoughts of that.

While Bohs progressed through two rounds of Europa Conference League qualifiers, and a home win over Greek side PAOK, their domestic form did not match that.

They did knock out rivals Shamrock Rovers and win a home Cup semi-final with Waterford but failure to beat Sligo Rovers on the final day of the league season saw them end up fifth in the league table.

The Gypsies now need to win the FAI Cup on Sunday or face the prospect of no European football in 2022.

The Dublin side banked €750,000 in prize money from their run in the Europe this summer.

With spending set to increase in the league next year, European windfalls are desired by all of the top flight clubs and missing out can have consequences in planning for the new year.

Long does not feel a European place should be a minimum expectation at the club.

Speaking to RTÉ Sport, he said: "I don't think so. Obviously from a footballing perspective we'd love to be operating at a really high level and European opposition gives you that.

"It gives you the opportunity to grow as a team and a club. We progressed thorough two rounds in the summer, had a brilliant time and there is no doubt that is where we want to be.

"There is no added pressure on this team or on us to get Europe. The pressure is already there because it's a FAI Cup final.

"The noise is there. If we win the Cup, and it's a big if, because Pat's are a very good side, we'll get European football as a result. That is the challenge of Sunday.

"It was a disappointment (to finish fifth). There is no shying away from that. We only have ourselves to blame really. We feel we dropped a lot of points from winning positions late in games this year. I don't feel there is any added pressure because it's a final and we want to go and win it.

"We want to lift silverware for this group of players and the supporters who have been behind this club in difficult times.

"We're on a sounder footing. The club is being run very sustainably and run well off the pitch. Hopefully we can give some vindication and validation with some silverware because it would be a fantastic reward."

Bohs saw off sides from Iceland and Luxembourg at the Aviva Stadium in July along with the special night against PAOK.

The attendance was capped due to Covid-19 limitations as 8,000 fans were present for the final game.

Bohs have enjoyed some good days at the Aviva Stadium already this year

Many feel Long’s side have an advantage from playing at the Dublin 4 venue but he feels the difference in occasions offers a new perspective.

Over 30,000 tickets have been sold so far with possibly 10,000 more to come in the run-up to the game in what would be the best attended Cup final of the modern era.

"I've been asked that a number of times (about playing three times in the Aviva Stadium this year).

"It's no disadvantage to have played there a number of times during the summer and having played quite well to be fair in those games in European competition against high level opposition.

"But Sunday is a different game. It's a derby, a Cup final, there's a bigger crowd. We have to make sure we control our performance and play to our potential.

"There is no doubt we'll need to be against a very good St Pat's side who finished second this season. We know what we need to do. If we can manage our performance and perform to a level we know we can and have shown previously, we'll give ourselves a good chance

"It's a great occasion for us. It's been 13 years since the club was in a Cup final. The boys are really excited and we're all looking forward to it."

One other concern for Bohs is the prospect of losing some key men at the end of the year.

Irish Under-21 international Ross Tierney will play his final game for the club on Sunday ahead of a move to Motherwell.

Talisman Keith Buckley could also depart while the league's top scorer Georgie Kelly is in demand at home and abroad.

Long is keen to see an end to the annual battle Bohs face to hang on to their talented players.

"We're fighting on all fronts to try to keep the players at the club. Our job is try to secure the players on longer-term contracts. Sometimes that can be easier said than done. Players have their own ideas and their own agenda let's say.

"We want a little bit more certainty every year where we're regenerating our players on a small way as opposed to a radical way where you are making constant, wholesale changes. There will be some changes at the end of the year.

"We will lose some players but we also have a lot of players retained for next year and beyond.

"We're looking at bringing in other players to try to strengthen the squad in the areas we need to try to improve.

"Some may leave this year for different reasons which are outside of our control but fundamentally the bigger picture for us is to secure players on longer-term contracts."

Watch Bohemians v St Patrick's Athletic in the FAI Cup final on RTÉ2 and RTE Player on Sunday afternoon. Radio commentary on Sunday Sport on RTÉ Radio 1 and live blog on RTE.ie and RTE News app.