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Saturday 21 September 2019

Schedule just too much for players: Long

CHANGES: Bohemians manager Keith Long. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
CHANGES: Bohemians manager Keith Long. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Bohemians manager Keith Long says he has to implement squad rotation due to a fixture list which he claims is damaging to player safety.

The Gypsies drew 0-0 at home to Waterford on Friday night, Long making eight changes to the team which won 1-0 away to Shamrock Rovers the previous Tuesday.

And with another game tonight, away to fourth-placed Derry City, Long is likely to make changes again.

"We can't play Tuesday/Friday with the same starting eleven, it's impossible," said Long ahead of that trip to Derry.

"It's crazy. Play players and you injure them. You have to listen to the medical people at the club and the sensible thing last Friday was to rest the boys in order to have them for the rest of the season, not just for that game.

"We try and manage the squad as best we can. We had five injuries, if we risked them on Friday we could have lost them for an extended period of time so it was commonsense to change it up.

"We had Derek Pender, Danny Grant, Kevin Devaney, Darragh Leahy and Keith Buckley with niggles.

"The most important thing was to come through this period unscathed in terms of injuries. Tonight will be our ninth game since we played St Pat's at home a month ago.

"It's really tough. It's tough on all the teams, everyone has to do it. If I don't change the team we will lose players for a longer period," added Long, admitting that his side lacked verve in the scoreless draw on Friday.

"We didn't do enough against Waterford to win the game, Waterford shaded it a little bit and we came up short but I can't fault the players' effort and it was another clean sheet. James Talbot has been superb for us," he said.

"We have Derry away tonight, they were excellent against Shamrock Rovers the other week, they won again on Friday night.

"It's going to be a tough game up there but hopefully we get get one or two of our injured players back on the pitch."

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