JUST EIGHT senior players were due to report for the first day of pre-season training with Bohemians today as the Dublin club continue their desperate efforts to stay in business.
Bohs insist that they can meet head-on a threat from two players to have the club wound up over the non- payment of wages, a threat which is hanging over the club today as a 21-day deadline for settlement of the club's debts to the two expired yesterday with no payment from the club.
"We have spoken to our solicitor and we are confident that we have no case to answer in relation to the two players," a club spokesman said today.
The two were to decide today whether to seek a winding-up order.
One of the pair appeared to be backing down in the past 24 hours and was initially happy to row in with his team-mates in their bid to get their back-wages paid without going to court, but he had a change of heart yesterday and is heading for the courts to pursue the winding-up order.
The debt-ridden Gypsies, league champions in 2008 and 2009, have spent the past three months trying to work out a deal which will see most of their remaining contracted players leave -- seven out-of-contract players have already left Dalymount.
The club have also fallen behind in wage payments to the players under contract and most of the other players are now owed six weeks' wages.
Bohs appealed to their members to take part in a loan scheme, the cash raised set aside to fund what is effectively a redundancy scheme to get the contracted players off the wage bill.
The club are reportedly close to reaching their target -- in the region of €270,000 -- and hope to make up a shortfall by the end of the week, with a meeting between the club and the player's union, the PFAI, planned for next Sunday or Monday.
If Bohs do not pay the players what they are owed, or at least have come to an arrangement with them about a pay-off, by the January 31 deadline, the club would be in danger of being denied a licence to play in the Premier Division -- and even the First Division -- for the coming season.
Manager Pat Fenlon had asked his remaining players to report back at the club at noon today for the first day of their pre-season programme -- and 10 youngsters will fill out the squad.
The two players who threatened the winding-up order will be absent, while three players who live outside the capital were expected to not show up as they have no home in Dublin.