Keith Long warns Bohemians can’t afford a slow start in tonight’s clash with leaders Shamrock Rovers (8pm) as they bid to maintain Dublin derby bragging rights.
Bohs have had the upper hand in this fixture in recent times, winning five and drawing one of the sides’ last six meetings.
But since the rivals last met, Rovers have been undefeated, having surged to the top of the Premier Division and are chasing a ninth win in a row.
For their part Bohs are eight points behind Rovers but with a game in hand, as they are putting together an unlikely title challenge
“Rovers are rightly being tipped for the league title. That is to be expected given their level of investment in their squad and the quality of player they’ve brought in.
“We’ve had a good start to the season ourselves though, built on a mean defence.
“We acquitted ourselves very well in Dundalk last week, deserved a result, but couldn’t find the breakthrough. We followed that up with a good win against UCD but we were sluggish in the first half — we were much better in the second half — but we will need to start brightly against Rovers.”
With both sides in such good form this season, this is the most anticipated derby meeting of these great rivals in years.
“There is great appetite for this fixture from both sets of supporters,” said Long. “You don’t want to let your supporters down. Tallaght will be like a cauldron and even more so now with the new South Stand and hopefully we can do our bit to make sure the game can live up to its billing.”