let's stick together
Bohs boss Heary hopes Cup run can help club to both bring in and retain players
THE VULTURES are circling over Dalymount Park and the young talents of Owen Heary's Bohemians side are in their sights.
Unable to match the financial muscle of their domestic rivals, the Gypsies have seen players like Chris Fagan, Christopher Forrester and Luke Byrne move on in recent seasons, and the form of current Bohs stars like Eoin Wearen, Roberto Lopes and Kevin Devaney means it will be difficult to keep them at Dalymount Park next season.
That's why a run all the way to the final of the FAI Cup - and a possible place in Europe next year - is even more important to Heary as he faces up to the next task in that regard, a Cup quarter-final away to St Patrick's Athletic tonight.
Times are tough and gates are down - less than 700 paying punters saw Bohs beat Cork at home in the last round of the Cup - which means that wages are also on the small side.
"It would be massive for the club to get into a final," says Heary, aware that he will face a battle to keep former West Ham lad Wearen at the club next season on his current wages as the has been in superb form since breaking into the side in July.
"If you win the cup, you're in Europe but depending on who you play you could still get into the Europa League. European football has to be the aim for players who want to play at the top level. Being in Europe would not only make it easier for me to entice players to the club but also to keep players here.
"It's been a while since this club was in a final. We had the Setanta Cup final four years ago. There was an FAI Cup and League Cup final before that, but four years is a long time to go without a final of any kind, and it's six years since we were in the FAI Cup final.
"I hope that'll change this season. We are focused on the game tonight but if we can get through to the last four, it's a great chance for the players and the club.
"This a chance to get into the semi-final of a Cup which is massive in itself but for us as a club it would be huge to get through.
"I have told the players that they have to go out and perform to the best of their ability every week as you never know who is there watching the games. I know that players here at this club could have the opportunity to go to Pats or Rovers for next season but I keep telling the players that they don't know who is there in the stands at the games.
"It could be a scout or a manager from a foreign club and it's important that they go out and play well. We don't have the riches that other clubs have but we do have a lot of good players. You can see in our performances over the last month that our players, on their day, are up there with anyone in this league. We have Dinny Corcoran in great form. He came off the bench in Sligo to score - six goals in four games now for Dinny, so his form is excellent."
When the Cup draws are made, fans and players whose team is drawn away from home usually issue a groan but many within the Bohs camp are pleased to be away to Pats tonight. While the Gypsies' home record has picked up recently - three wins from the last three league games at Dalymount - the return of points from home games before that was pitiful.
And Bohs also enjoy a good record at Pats: two wins and six draws from the last eight visits to Inchicore.
"Our home form hasn't been bad over the last while but it probably suits us to be away to Pats. We have had a tough run to get to this stage of the Cup. We had to play Limerick and Cork City away. They were hard games and Pats away will be a hard match as well," Heary admits.
"Pats have been on form in the last few weeks. They had a great win in Derry and beat Dundalk at home, the first time Dundalk had been beaten in a while. They are keeping clean sheets, which is great from Liam Buckley's point of view but for us it makes the job harder.
"Pats know they are in for a tough game as well. We have a good record against them, especially at Richmond Park. We went there this season and got beaten but we took the lead in the game - Jason Byrne scored a sensational goal - and gave them a real match.
"The record is decent and we beat them in the EA Sports Cup as well, but that all goes out the window tonight. I don't put much faith in the record before cup games - Limerick have had a great record against us in the league over the last while but we went there and beat them in the Cup.
"We have been scoring goals in the last while. Limerick away and Cork away are the only games in the league where we haven't scored in the last 10 games in the league, so we know how to score," added Heary, who can recall the influnetial Wearen to the side tonight after he completed his suspension.