Downbeat Bohs continue to pay penalty
Keith Long, speaking in pre-season, admitted that a problem for his Bohemians side in 2018 would be meeting expectations after an impressive top-five finish last season.
And following a bright start to the new campaign, it's been a grim week with back-to-back home defeats.
Tonight Bohs head south to face a Waterford side who are only kept off top spot in the table due to goal difference, a challenge of a different kind for a Bohs outfit who need to regain their confidence.
"We over-achieved last season, I don't think anyone expected us to finish where we did, we deserved to finish fifth and it was a good season. We want to kick on but it doesn't happen automatically," says striker Dinny Corcoran.
"It's taking a bit longer than we'd have liked for us to click as a team, and people expect us to be doing better than we are.
"Expectations are still high, but other teams have spent a lot of money on their squads. Dundalk and Cork are up there, Rovers have got a few wins, Waterford have started well so the season will be tough, it's early days but we need to start picking up points.
"Our home form has to improve. It's hard to explain why but it's not good enough, it's not good for the fans or the players and it just has to get better.
"I don't think there is a lack of confidence in the squad, we can take some positives from the last two games but the results is all that matters and the results have been poor," added Corcoran.
The most recent wounds for Bohs, defeats at home to Derry and St Pat's, were self-inflicted as the side missed a penalty in each game. Eoghan Stokes missed his effort against Derry, Keith Ward was denied in the defeat to Pat's, and Corcoran - top scorer for Bohs last season - says he will now assume spot-kick duties if the chance comes.
"I will step up for the next penalty if we get one. I missed the last one I took, last season. My rule is that if I miss one, I let someone else take the penalties until they miss, Stokesey and Wardy have missed them so I will take over now."
While Bohs failed to score in the last two games, Shamrock Rovers' Graham Burke is high on confidence, thanks to five goals in his last two appearances.
"It's a great achievement for Graham personally and I'm delighted for him," Rovers boss Stephen Bradley said of Burke's four-goal haul against Derry on Friday, the Hoops in action tonight away to Cork City.
"We'll go there full of confidence and ready to go and try and win the game. We've got to go and play the way we play. We know they're the champions and they did the double last year, it'll be a big crowd and a tough game but we believe that we can go anywhere and cause problems and create chances."