Kenny figures the students’ Belfield ground is one of the toughest places to play in the league and, even though the game pits his table toppers against the bottom side, he wants the right attitude going into the game.
“UCD in Belfield is always a tough proposition,” Kenny said. “St Pat’s went there last week and found that out. I think mentally we always approach trips to Derry and Cork a little bit differently, we prepare differently psychologically than we do when we’re playing another Dublin team. But we need to have the same attitude going to Belfield. They always play well at home, it’s as simple as that.
“The strength of the league is that anyone can beat anyone else. UCD have been on a bad run but equally they have the talent to turn that around and now go on a good run. They got off to a bad start but after last week Paul Doolin will be wanting to get another win and move them off the bottom.”
UCD manager Doolin would agree with that but is not blind to the challenge posed by the league leaders. “They’re top of the league, they haven’t lost in 12 games and it’s going to be tough for us,” Doolin said. “But we’re looking forward to it and we’ve got great belief in ourselves. We do feel we can beat Bohs, it’s always a possibility, especially if we play as well as we can and did against Pat’s last week.”
Doolin is still without Richie Purdy, who has a calf-muscle injury, and Mick O’Donnell with a chipped bone in his foot. Otherwise he has a fully fit squad free from suspension. Bohs, however, have more extensive problems. Prolific striker Glen Crowe faces a fitness test on a hamstring injury which forced him out of action last weekend. He has managed only very light training this week and his manager will have to wait and see if his top marksman passes fit to play at Belfield tonight. The situation is the same for Paul McNally who limped out of last weekend’s game with a groin strain. Kenny is also without long-term casualties David Morrison, Alan Reilly and Jason McGuinness.
Bohs’ nearest rivals Cork City have injury problems of their own with manager Liam Murphy unable to name even a squad for their trip to Shelbourne until he was confident all his players had come through last night’s training unscathed.
Left-back Neal Horgan is two more weeks away from a comeback following his cartilage operation and, with centre-back Stephen Napier out for the season, Murphy will be tempted to give a first start of the season to veteran Declan Daly, who has been out of action with knee ligament damage since pre-season. “The injury has been very slow to heal,” Murphy said. “But he and John Andrews both came through an under-21 match last Saturday and they are available to us.” Midfielder Alan Reynolds could return if he passes fit following a nose operation but the news is less encouraging for former Wrexham midfielder David Warren. He will face surgery if he fails to come through a full week’s training.
City are in danger of being overtaken in second place by St Patrick’s Athletic but Murphy insists his side are still in pursuit of Bohs rather than looking to consolidate in the runners-up spot. “We have both Bohs and Pat’s to play at home yet and there’s a long way to go,” he said. “Throw in a lot of Dublin derbies and it’s still wide open for us.”
Shels found City’s Turner’s Cross home to be a fortress when they were turned over on the first day of the season but player-boss Pat Fenlon, who will be missing Jim Crawford and Tony Sheridan to groin injuries, is confident tonight’s game at Tolka Park will have a different complexion.
“Turner’s Cross is a difficult place to play but Cork play the same way wherever they go. They are a strong side who always get after the game and try to win it. The only difference will be there won’t be six or seven thousand mad Corkmen screaming after us.”