Dundalk v Bohemians (Premier Division)
If rumours are to be believed, Dundalk’s top marksman Pat Hoban could finally be set for a return to action at Oriel Park on Friday night and what a timely return it would be with the Lilywhites with one foot in Europe for next season.
Dundalk are currently two points clear of St.Patrick’s Athletic with just two games left to play meaning if Pats slip up in Sligo, the Louth men could secure third spot and a return to Europe next season with three points here.
Dundalk have only lost once at home all season but did almost suffer back-to-back home defeats last week only for an injury-time Keith Ward goal to rescue a point in a thrilling 3-3 draw with Sligo Rovers. The fact that Dundalk conceded three at home is worrying, especially given they have only kept one clean sheet in their last six matches. However, the fact Dundalk are scoring plenty of goals during the absence of their star striker is equally encouraging and they should get chances against a weak Bohemians defence.
Declan Devine’s first game in charge of Bohs last week will have alerted the former Derry boss as to the scale of the job he has taken on at Dalymount Park. A home game against bottom side Finn Harps looked a great opportunity to start life at the Dublin club with a win but a lucky late goal bailed Bohs out as they drew 2-2 in an error-filled game.
Devine’s first act as manager was to bring former captain Keith Buckley back from Australia and appoint him as captain on a three-year deal. This should address the clear lack of on-field leadership at Bohs but of course, Buckley will not be available until next season.
A lot of the problems that have plagued Bohs all season was evident in the game with Harps last week. A lack of decisiveness in defence being one of the main problems this year and with a huge home crowd behind Dundalk in what is their final game at Oriel Park for 2022, the character of the away side will be tested and I’m not sure they have the mental fortitude to withstand such pressure.
Dundalk are unbeaten in three games against Bohemians this season (W2, D1) and with the prize on offer here, it’s hard to look past a home win.
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