Keith Long has warned Bohemians that they will need to deliver a maximum performance to progress in the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup against Finn Harps tonight.
Ballybofey hasn’t always been a happy hunting ground for Bohs but with replays done away with this season until the quarter-final stage, Long feels there is a clarity to their objective tomorrow.
Long said: “It’s a one-off tie. No replay is unusual and something we haven’t experienced in the FAI Cup.
“But that brings clarity to the situation too. It’s going to be a real battle and we will be up for it.
“It’s one of the toughest draws, one of the toughest opponents.There will be a big crowd behind Harps.
“We’re going there as underdogs. Harps will be favourites, although Ollie Horgan will say differently.”
Bohs have faced Finn Harps twice already this season with the Gypsies claiming the spoils at Dalymount Park in April.
But they were left frustrated by their performance when the sides met in Ballybofey last month when a bolshy Harps display saw them come out 2-1 winners.
Bohs have picked themselves up since with seven points from their last three games but nobody is getting carried away.
Long said: “We know what to expect now after being up there last month.
“They’re a good team with some excellent players. We know what’s in store for us. They will be hungry and we have to match that.
“We’ll go there with an attacking mindset but the players need to channel their energy. It’s a one-off tie, so we can’t have anyone having an off-day.
“There’s confidence in the team but we have to perform to the maximum.
“If we play like we did the last time in Ballybofey, we will come away with nothing.
“If we play like we have over the course of our last three games, we will give ourselves a chance.”
Bohs’ confidence levels received a further lift today when Fuad Sule was named the SSE Airtricity/Soccer Writers’ Association of Ireland Player of the Month for July.
The 20-year-old, who alongside Warren O’Hora and Oscar Brennan last week signed a new contract to remain at the club until the end of next season, hasn’t looked back since breaking into the first team in April.
But his performances in the memorable victories against Shamrock Rovers and Cork City last month stood out in particular.
Long added: “We are really pleased for Fuad. It’s a personal accolade that he deserves for the impact he’s made since coming into the team but it’s also recognition for the efforts of his team-mates too.”