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Tuesday 20 November 2018

'We can beat the drop' - Oscar

ONWARDS AND UPWARDS: Bohemians midfielder Oscar Brennan wants to re-ignite the club’s season with a Dublin derby win over St Patrick’s Athletic at Dalymount Park tonight
ONWARDS AND UPWARDS: Bohemians midfielder Oscar Brennan wants to re-ignite the club’s season with a Dublin derby win over St Patrick’s Athletic at Dalymount Park tonight

The 'r' word hasn't been banned around Dalymount Park, the Bohemians squad all too aware that while relegation for what would be the first time in the club's history is unwanted, it cannot be ignored.

A return of two points from the last five games before the mid-season break means that Keith Long's outfit may need to get points on board from upcoming games against teams above them in the table (St Patrick's Athletic tonight and Waterford) to give breathing space ahead of next month's basement battles with Sligo Rovers and Bray Wanderers.

But midfielder Oscar Brennan is confident that the Phibsboro club have enough in their squad to stay out of the bottom two at least.

"We can't ignore words like relegation because that's the reality," says Brennan, aware that Bohs are just three points above the bottom two, one side automatically relegated this year with the team finishing ninth heading into a play-off.

"We are in a relegation dogfight so we have to deal with that and, as players, do what we can to get out of it.

"We know that Bohemians have never been relegated and we don't want to be the group of players who took the club into the First Division."

But the former UCD man feels the squad have the quality to avoid trouble. "We know the quality we have, we just need to show that every week," he says.

"You try not to think too much about the position we are in but you need to win games.

"There's a good spirit in the group and even though we lost the last game, to Cork, that bred confidence as we played well down there and if we can repeat that level of performance every week we can move up the table. If we play to our highest standard every week, we'll be fine.

"Derby games are always big but this one tonight is very important for us," added Brennan.

"Pat's had been on a decent run but then lost a few, they will be coming to our place looking to put things right and move up the table again."

While those clubs on a winning run (Dundalk, Cork City, Shamrock Rovers) may feel that the mid-season break interrupted their stride, the two teams involved at Dalymount Park tonight needed a rest, Bohs and Pat's both without a win in the five games before that break.

"The break is an opportunity for all teams to take a step back and assess things, but it certainly came at a good time for us," says Brennan.

"We did well in the last game before the break, we were very unlucky to lose in Cork but still having a few days off allows you to recharge the batteries and plan ahead."

For Bohs, a lot rests on what happens now with Dylan Watts, the attacking midfielder who has been on loan from Leicester City. That loan deal expires on Sunday so tonight could be his last game in a Bohs shirt.

Watts (22) is in demand from clubs in the UK and Ireland but the hope at Dalymount Park is that Watts agrees terms with a club in Britain, but is loaned back to Bohs for the remainder of the 2018 season. "I have know Dylan since we were six, we were in the same class and I played against him," says Brennan. "He is a real talent and if we can somehow keep him it'd be a real boost."

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