Fit-again Pender is eager to get started
A frustrated observer for most of last year due to a season-ending injury, Derek Pender is back in action with Bohemians and keen to make up for lost time in what he hopes will be a very good season for the Dublin 7 club.
Keith Long's side were the surprise element of 2015 with an unexpected fifth-place finish, but many fans wondered if they would have gone closer to a European spot or a successful cup run if Pender, rated as one of the best right-backs in the league, had not missed the last five months of the campaign due to an Achilles injury.
But the veteran is now fully fit, proving that in Monday's 3-0 win over Drogheda United in the Leinster Senior Cup, and he's keen to play a part in 2016.
"It was a great season for the club, the lads did so well, especially winning away to Rovers, but it was a frustrating one for me with the injury so I'd hope to have a strong year now," Pender told The Herald, ahead of the season's start next Friday.
"I was a bit nervous before the Drogheda game on Monday as it was my first proper match since I did the injury in May but I got through it.
"We played well and won so it's all eyes on Cork away in the league next week. I went to the games last season after the injury, but you can't feel part of it when you're injured, now I have that game under my belt I am good to go."
With last season's top two of Dundalk and Cork City expected to be strong again, Pender is keen for Bohs to at least finish top of the pile in Dublin.
"We were four points behind Pats last year but we dropped a lot of silly points, so if we can be more consistent at home we can press them, Shamrock Rovers as well, chasing Pats is our first target so we'll see where we end up," added the defender.