New boys have Bohs on form
Bohemians defender Aaron Barry says the Dublin club are enjoying their status as the unexpected challengers to a table-topping Shamrock Rovers this season.
The loss of key players over the close season led to grim predictions for 2019 for Bohs, where avoiding relegation would have been seen as a success.
Instead, some very solid form, combined with some stuttering from Dundalk, Cork City and St Patrick's Athletic, has elevated Bohs to second place, their trip north tonight to face Finn Harps a chance to keep up with the Hoops.
"I wasn't paying too much attention to pre-season predictions but I guess people were thinking Bohs would be aiming for mid-table," says Barry, on loan to Bohs from Cork. "But as soon as I came in I could see the quality that is around the squad.
"It's obviously been difficult for Bohs losing three or four good players every closed season but they've recruited well and replaced them with more quality.
"There is a good mix of young players but experience too with the likes of Derek Pender, Dinny Corcoran and Rob Cornwall.
"We're going well at the moment and we are winning games but that can change quickly.
"We can't get ahead of ourselves. There is a long season ahead and there will be plenty of twists and turns along the way," added Wicklow native Barry, who comes into the starting XI tonight in place of the suspended Rob Cornwall.
Bohs are two points ahead of champions Dundalk and the Lilywhites camp know that the next two games, away to Sligo Rovers tonight and at home to Bohs on Monday, are crucial after last week's defeat to St Pat's.
"It's good to have the games so soon after a loss," says keeper Gary Rogers.
"It's a busy period for us and we know it's going to be difficult but we will be ready for it starting tonight."