Bohs can go places
Kavanagh feels Gypsies can repeat success of 2015 as Finn is wary of Bohs
Are they having a dose of the 'Second Season Syndrome' around the Dublin 7 area?
On paper it look that way as Bohemians, last season's surprise success in the Premier Division, find themselves closer to the bottom than the top: after nine games of the 2015 campaign they had 17 points on board, but at the same stage of the current season that tally is just 10 points and they have the worst goal difference outside of the bottom three.
Hardly the kind of starts to breed confidence as champions Dundalk come to Dalymount looking to make it four wins from four, but Bohs winger Paddy Kavanagh believes that the Gypsies have yet to show their true side this season, maintaining that the pre-season target of a European place is still there.
"Our ambitions are the same, nothing has changed and I fully believe we can go up the table and challenge for the top four at least," Kavanagh says.
"With the way the league is this season, the table can be flipped on its head in a few weeks, the league usually breaks into a two-tier system in the second series of games and if we can string a few results together, we can turn this season around.
"There is a hell of a lot more to come from this team, Keith Long added a lot of quality over the close season and maybe it's taking time for it to settle.
"I don't believe for a minute that last season and our good form was a one-off, we beat Dundalk last year and I feel we have the ability to do that again. We can be proud of our record against them last season as we deserved the good results against them.
"We matched them in every area of the park every time we played them, we drew with them at home and should have beaten then again and we deserved our win up there in Oriel Park, so I don't think we'll go out there tonight and fear them," added Kavanagh, keen to give the fans a lift after back to back defeats on a 5-0 aggregate scoreline.
"I can assure the fans that it's not for the lack of hard work, the lads in the squad are working their socks off, I think we're just not getting the breaks that maybe we got last year. All we can do is work as hard as we can and wait for things to turn our way," he says.
"We did get the rub of the green in a few games around this time last year but it's not not falling for us now. Against Rovers two weeks ago we could have been 2-0 up and we lost 4-0, we left ourselves open when we went chasing the game. We got caught cold in Derry last week and could have got something but we move on."
Dundalk are very much a side on form. three straight wins and clean sheets in their last three league games. Yet despite the 12-point gap between the sides, Dundalk have reason to be wary of the Gypsies as Bohs were the only side to beat them on the way to the league title last season and Kavanagh feels they are still the benchmark.
"They are a good outfit and while they have lost those goals from midfield from Richie Towell, they have strengthened in other areas, Finner [Ronan Finn] is chipping in with goals, Robbie Benson is a very good player, and even though they have dropped some points, they're still very strong," added Kavanagh, who has played in every league game for the Gypsies this season, a stat he's proud of unlike his scoring ratio, the winger admitting that he needs a goal.
Dundalk are indeed wary of Bohs due to last season. "We found it tough against Bohemians last year, they managed to take a lot of points off us and we know that going to Dalymount Park we are going to find it really tough but we will prepare properly for Bohs and make sure we are at it again," says midfielder Ronan Finn, a man who is keen to build on last week's win away to Shamrock Rovers.
"It was an important win for us. We knew coming to Tallaght it wasn't going to be easy, games are always difficult here and they are one of our rivals. It's a good win for us, we came for the three points and that's what we got. Our away form is fantastic. Hopefully we can take that home as well and combine the two. We have more more to come from us too. I feel we have another gear in us," added Finn.