Rossiter's title vision
SOME PUNDITS have already discounted Bohemians from the title race, but Gypsies defender Mark Rossiter insists that Pat Fenlon's side -- currently fifth in the table -- have the hunger and desire to make a real stab at winning the 2011 championship.
There were no slip-ups from the leading group of teams over the weekend as Sligo Rovers, Shamrock Rovers and St Patrick's Athletic all won their games, and Derry were not in league action because of their League Cup final commitments.
But in terms of recent results it's the fifth-placed team, Bohs, who are the form team of the league.
Fenlon's men are on a run of four straight league wins, and Rossiter -- jointly the longest-serving player at the club along with Owen Heary -- says that the squad are smiling at suggestions that they're not in the race, even though they can go within four points of league leaders Sligo if they win at UCD tonight.
"There was a piece on MNS that had the run-in of league games for the top four teams but we weren't there," says Rossiter as Bohs prepare for the Belfield Bowl tie, a game re-fixed from the summer. "People look at the league table and see us in fifth so we're not considered as contenders, but that's ok by us.
"I know that this group of players and manager genuinely feel we can do something this season, it just depends on whether we're good enough to do it," added Rossiter, now in his fifth season at the club.
"People like Pat Fenlon and Owen Heary have a real hunger and a drive for success. They don't settle for second best, they don't want to finish second.
"Their aim is to win the league and that goes for the whole squad. We won't give up on that until it's mathematically impossible for us to win it.
"Tonight's game is massive for us. If we can win against UCD, we're only a point behind Pats and we play them next, on Friday, and we'd be only four points off the top of the table.
"But if we drop points in Belfield it's probably over for us, so we just have to go there and win tonight, and we know that won't be easy. UCD got beaten 4-0 in their last game, against Bray, so their players will be keen to make up for that and they'd love to take points off us."
Bohs made it four wins from four with a comfortable win on Friday night over Galway United -- so often their bogey team over the last two seasons.
But that came at a cost as defender Liam Burns, who has missed just one game since March, was forced off in the first half with an injury, and Bohs may need to reshape their back four if Burns is not passed fit.
Fenlon, however, has options up front with Chris Fagan, who started against Galway for the first time in six games, delivering a two-goal return.