Remarkably, Bohs have not won three league games in a row since October 2015 and Long knows that it will require something special to match that feat against Stephen Kenny’s high-flying team.
“With respect to Sligo Rovers and Bray Wanderers, Dundalk are on another level to most teams in the league,” he says.
“But those two wins allow us to have a go at them tonight. On our day, if everyone gives a fully focused performance, we can put it up to anyone in this league.”
For Dundalk, the high of beating Derry City 4-1 away to go top of the table has been followed by the low of a fresh addition to their list of players ruled out by serious injury, with John Mountney’s high grade medial knee ligament injury meaning he will be sidelined for the next six to eight weeks.
“The four serious injuries we got have been all impact injuries,” says Stephen Kenny. “Sean Gannon, broken ribs. Stephen O’Donnell, broken leg. Karolis Chvedukas has a complicated ankle injury and now John with the medial knee injury. We have had a lot of things go against us this season but the players have responded brilliantly.”
Smarting from their home defeat to the Lilywhites and a run of just one point from their last three games, Derry travel to Richmond Park to take on a St Pat’s side who have hit a contrasting vein of form, beating Shamrock Rovers, Limerick and Sligo on the spin. Making the visitors’ task even more daunting is the fact that Pat’s are now unbeaten in their last seven league games in Inchicore but Saints’ manager Liam Buckley, who regards Derry as “one of the top teams in the division”, believes his side are “heading into a really tough game” tonight.
After consecutive draws on the road, third-placed Waterford will look to get back to winning ways against struggling Limerick at the RSC “We’ve beaten them once already away from home but they’ve only narrowly lost their last two games and have been improving,” says Blues’ boss Alan Reynolds. “So we’re aware of that and will be ready to go.”
In the First Division tonight, it’s Drogheda United v Wexford, United Park; UCD v Athlone Town, UCD Bowl; and Finn Harps v Cobh Ramblers, Finn Park, (8pm).