Bohemian manager Aaron Callaghan is urging his players to be mentally strong in Friday’s away game to the league champions and current leaders.
“They have to be really, really up for this game. If our attitude is right and the players are mentally strong and the opposition has an off-day, you never know what can happen,” Callaghan said.
“This is a David v Goliath battle. It used to be David v David. Look at their five strikers to our three. Each of them is on three times the pay of our highest paid and they have all won honours in the league.”
Relieved to get the team’s first point with a scoreless draw against St Patrick’s Athletic last Sunday, Callaghan was less pleased with the players’ performance in that game than in some of the earlier league defeats.
The playing surface at Dalymount Park took some of the blame for the failure of the passing game and Callaghan considers it may have contributed to “a little bit of fear about passing the ball”.
“I’m saying to the players to stay strong, keep courageous, go out and enjoy playing and do the things that will help the team going forward.
“Our performances in other games were much better than on Sunday and we created more chances. The pleasing aspect of the game was the fantastic clean sheet.
“We have been making sure our defence is strong. That was our foundation work and we have good experience in that area. Now we can give more attention to the midfield and forward areas and at more ways to link them better.”
He is insisting to his players that theirs is a work in progress and a long-term one at that. But the immediate challenge of playing away to Shamrock Rovers is one he is “really looking forward to”.
“When you come into professional football these are the games you want to play. We’ve had some big games already this season and the team were not overwhelmed by them.”
Flu is continuing to affect members of the squad. Luke Byrne has returned to training after being out for two weeks but Keith Murray and Andy Mulligan are currently laid low.
Callaghan also thinks the “low energy levels” of one or two players on Sunday may have been down to milder cases or lingering effects of flu.
Keith Ward (calf) and Danny Joyce (groin) are back to full training and may be fit for selection.
But changes in selection will continue to be made, Callaghan said. “You’re always looking at what your best line-up is. We still haven’t had enough time to assess all the players fully. ”