Limerick welcome Bohemians to the Markets Field looking to end dismal league run.
Limerick FC welcome Bohemians in the Airtricity League Premier Division at the Markets Field on Saturday evening with the aim of ending a poor recent run which has seen the Shannonsiders without a league win in six games and without a league goal in four matches (Kick-off 6.30 pm). Bohemians did not play on Tuesday but gained an unlikely seven points from nine against Shamrock Rovers, Cork City and Bray in the space of a week.
Limerick endured a disappointing league defeat to Shamrock Rovers on Tuesday night. Neil McDonald’s side defended well from open play in the first period. However, yet another lapse in concentration at set-piece time resulted in going a goal behind. A poor clearance by Tony Whitehead provided Ronan Finn with the chance to double Rovers lead and he duly obliged. Furthermore, Limerick failed to score for the fourth consecutive league game with Rodrigo Tosi missing their only good opportunity. Neil McDonald apologised to supporters in the aftermath of the defeat as the result leaves the club just three points above the relegation zone with eight games to play.
Limerick have no new notable injuries or suspensions ahead of the game. It will be interesting to see how McDonald aims to arrest the recent poor displays. There have been large calls for the recall of Rodrigo Tosi. However, in order to maximise Tosi’s strengths, Limerick must deliver the ball from wide areas which has been at a premium in recent weeks. The narrow 4-4-2 system does not suit the Brazilian, even if he is accompanied by the pacey Chiedozie Ogbene.
Speaking to the club’s official website, Limerick goalkeeper and recently appointed vice captain Brendan Clarke has urged his team to be strong and turn the results around.
“Obviously no one likes losing, we’ve lost three on the bounce in the league. We are professional footballers and it’s what we are paid to do. We need to bounce back and pick ourselves up because no one else is going to do it for us. We are the only ones that can end this blip.”
When asked about the set-piece frailty, Clarke does not think it is an easy fix and feels a lot of hard work and responsibility will fix the problem.
“Defensively, we are looking to keep clean sheets and we havent been doing that. We need to work harder on that in training and on the pitch. People have got to take responsibility. At set pieces someone has got to win the first header and we will take seconds from there.”
Speaking about the visit of Bohemians, the experienced goalkeeper admitted it will be a very tough test for his side.
“Yeah it will be a very tough game. They have already won down here and we beat them up there. We will prepare properly and respect Bohs. Hopefully, we go and get the three points.”
Bohemians arrive at the Markets Field in buoyant mood following two unexpected victories against bitter rivals Shamrock Rovers and runaway league leaders Cork City. More impressively, both were away from home and over a four day period. Last week, the Gypsies drew 0-0 at home to Bray. Keith Long’s men look set to stay in the division after being tipped by many to be relegated. The former Athlone manager has done a superb job considering their part time status and low budget. The return of Izzy Akinade was a massive boost and he will prove a handful for Limerick centre back duo Joe Crowe and Tony Whitehead with his pace, power and finishing ability, as we saw at Tallaght two weeks ago.
Bohemians will be without influential midfield duo Paddy Kavanagh and Oscar Brennan for the game through suspension. Kavanagh set up the winner for Dinny Corcoran when the sides last met at the Markets Field in March. Bohs won 0-1 on the night and put in an accomplished defensive performance through pressing Limerick high. Although, Limerick have changed tactically under McDonald, so the same approach would not be so effective on this occasion.
Match Stats: The teams have met twice this season. Bohs recorded a 0-1 victory over Limerick at the Markets Field, as mentioned above. Limerick avenged that defeat in May with a 1-2 victory courtesy of goals from Rodrigo Tosi and a Dan Byrne own goal.
In 2013, Limerick completed a clean sweep of victories over Bohemians in the league.
However, since then, Limerick have lost six out of nine meetings against the Phibsboro outfit, winning the other three games. Between June 2014 and May 2015, Bohs and Limerick met on five occasions and the Dublin club won all five games, including an FAI cup meeting.
Referee: Jim McKell