KEITH LONG admits that his part-time Bohemians side are struggling to keep up with the rigours of competing with full-time sides.
Gypsies fans who were on a high after last week's surprise win away to champions Dundalk were brought back down to earth by Tuesday's 3-1 defeat to St Patrick's Athletic, and an injury-hit Bohs have to go again this week, taking on Shamrock Rovers in the big Dublin derby tomorrow, the last round of games before the mid-season break.
Bohs have a decent record against the top sides this season, having beaten leaders Dundalk and avoided defeat against second-placed Cork City and Shamrock Rovers (third).
But Long admits that the two-week summer break in the league can't come soon enough.
"We are a part-time group of players and a part-time management team, we don't have the power of recovery that some of the other teams have, and the luxury of being off work all day, every day," says Long. "That's just the way it is at our club.
"We have Rovers tomorrow, we will have had Dundalk, St Pats and Rovers, I think any team would find that a tough schedule over six days.
"I can't fault the players and their work-rate, they have given it their all but came up short against St Pats, who have been the benchmark for teams like Dundalk, they are full-time for a reason, they have the top players in the league and you can see that.
"We will see how we are, recover and get ready for tomorrow," added Long, who hopes to have injury victims Stephen Best, Dave Mulcahy and Anto Murphy available again.
Rovers also have squad problems ahead of the big derby, with Danny North and Keith Fahey certain to miss out due to injury while leading scorer Mikey Drennan is suspended, opening up a chance for Gareth McCaffrey to come for his full league debut after three sub appearances for the Hoops.
Meanwhile, the Sligo Rovers players are still waiting for clarity on the manger's position ahead of tomorrow's test at home to champions Dundalk.
The club have yet to make an official comment but it's believed that Owen Heary was sacked by the board last Sunday, in the aftermath of a 5-1 defeat to Shamrock Rovers, their seventh loss in 15 league games.
But the board have not made any progress in talks on a severance package with Heary. While Damien Richardson has been strongly linked with a move to Sligo, along with English-born coach Jimmy Bell, the club cannot make any decision on a new boss until they finalise matters with Heary.
With assistant Liam O'Brien also axed along with Heary, it's thought that Gavin Dykes and Joseph Ndo will be in the dugout for tomorrow's game at home to champions Dundalk.
AIRTRICITY premier LeaGuE