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Keith Ward of Bohemians

Keith Ward of Bohemians

SPORTSFILE

Keith Ward of Bohemians

Bohemians midfielder Keith Ward insists his side will not settle for a second place finish in the title race despite the loss of the chance to go ahead of rivals Shamrock Rovers.

The Hoops now have their destiny in their own hands, five points clear with just eight games left, with an opportunity to end their nine-year wait for a league title.

But Ward says Bohs, their closest challengers for the league says Keith Long's side won't abandon hope and settle for a runner-up spot which was not expected at the start of the season.

"Even if we had beaten Rovers we wouldn't have got too excited and when we lost we didn't write it off, we take every game as it comes," says Ward.

"We are a good team, we are learning all the time and improving every year.

"Yes, we lost to Rovers but it's not over yet, and nothing has changed in my mind about this team, we still feel we can go on and have a good season, and that was the case whether we won or lost to Rovers.

"There are no easy games in the league this year, since we came back from lockdown a lot of teams have dropped points, anyone can take points off anyone else.

"Whatever result we'd have got against Rovers last week we knew it would be a long way to the end of the season.

"So it's disappointing to give Rovers that five-point lead, a good lead, but I do think there will be a lot of points dropped before the end of the season, there's a long way to go," added Ward.

Bohs can close the gap to two points on Friday, if they can outwit Waterford FC, as Rovers are not in action until Saturday, away to Cork City.

"We have Waterford now on Friday and they are a very decent side, they are flying, they had a big win over Pat's last week," says Ward.

"Hopefully we can get back to winning ways against Waterford."

The Bohs camp spent the first half of the week trying to lift the mood after Saturday's defeat to Rovers, where a win would have put the Gypsies on top of the table, Ward playing down the importance of two penalty appeals which were unanswered by referee Derek Tomney.

"At least one of them was a penalty but that's just part of the game and that's not why we lost to Rovers, we gave away a cheap goal," Ward said.

"We didn't start well in the Rovers game, we did a lot better in the second half but overall the day was disappointing. We were the better side in the second half but didn't create enough to win it.

"And I think the derbies suffer more from the lack of crowds, the derby matches are the ones you look forward to at the start of the season, especially Rovers, the ground is always packed in the derby, home or away, even when you go out to warm up there's a buzz so the derby last week lacked that bit of bite because there were no fans there."