The big Dublin Derby, Shamrock Rovers v Bohemians, takes centre-stage tonight with a 7.30 kick-off due to RTE’s live TV coverage of the game.
Rovers, off the back of a 2-1 defeat to champions Dundalk last Friday, come into the game fully prepared for a battle, but a battle they’re sure they can overcome.
Stephen Bradley has a fully fit squad to choose from, only missing the suspended Graham Burke.
Speaking about the defeat to Dundalk Bradley said “The overall feeling of the club is really good. We left there knowing that we matched them stride for stride for 90 minutes. We haven’t been able to do that for a long time. We know we can play better as a group, and we will do as time goes by, when we know each other and trust each other more. There’s lots of positives to take out of it, we should’ve got a draw.”
For Bohs, they started with a poor defensive display in a 4-1 defeat to Derry City, it’s a case of start-over and no better game to do that than a game against your bitter rivals. It’s a game where form goes out the window, and whoever wants it most wins.
Manager Keith Long said about last week’s defeat, “We played well in parts, there were a lot of things to be positive about. But ultimately Derry didn’t have to do a lot to find themselves 3-0 in front.”
“Our players gave everything, even at 3-0 down. We got a goal back and then had a goal ruled out that should have been given in my opinion.”
“That would have made it 3-2 and it’s a completely different dynamic then, so I was pleased with the players’ attitude and willingness to get back into the game.”
“But the bottom line is we have to cut out basic errors. That’s what cost us.”
“Derry are a good side, so you can’t make it easy for them. We’ve been working on that in training all week and the application of the players has been excellent.”
On facing Rovers, “We’ll be going to Tallaght with confidence.”
The Dublin derby is the first game both sets of supporters look for when the fixture list comes out.
Long said: “The game has come early. It’s a big one for both clubs. Rovers have spent a lot of money assembling a squad that is expected to challenge, so there’s pressure there too.”
“We’ve both started the season with a defeat. There’s pressure on both teams even though we’re only one game in.”
“We can pretend it’s just another game but we all know that’s not true. But it’s a great game and occasion for us to go and try bounce back.”
“We just have to go out, focus on our own game and deliver a performance.”
Long said his new squad were enthused and encouraged by the support they received last week and is counting on more of the same in Tallaght.
He added: “The supporters were brilliant. They were as disappointed as we were coming off the pitch but their support throughout gave us a big lift.”
“They really got behind us. They were fantastic. We know that they will bring that to Tallaght on Friday too. There’s always a big atmosphere and the players feed off the energy and buzz of our fans.”
It has all the ingredients of being a cracking game, so viewers and attendees better strap themselves in!