FORMER Bohemians legend Jason Byrne is expecting a tough showdown when his former club arrives at Oriel Park on Friday night.
Byrne was part of the exodus of players who left the Gypsies at the end of last season when the future of the club looked to be in doubt due to financial difficulties.
However since then, Pat Fenlon has put together a squad brimming full of youth and experience and the Phibsborough club have hit the ground running, winning their opening two games to sit joint top of the table with Shamrock Rovers.
Byrne spent three glittering seasons at Dalymount Park, winning two League of Ireland titles, a Setanta Cup and an FAI Cup and although the current Bohs squad aren’t quite at the same level, he knows what to expect from a team managed by Pat Fenlon.
“They still have the same manager and he will have the same ideas. Don’t forget that they have really good players and they’re riding the a crest of a wave at the minute with two wins on the bounce. He has lads in that squad who have won league titles. They’re top and it should be a good game. It will be nice to play against them.”
Dundalk boss Ian Foster is also under no illusions as to how difficult his side’s task will be.
“When we looked at the fixtures at the start of the season, we had a feeling Bohemians would be top of the league when they came here, regardless of what squad they had. They will be buzzing with six points out of six. They have some fantastic players with a manager who is used to winning games. It will be a very tough game for us.”
Foster revealed he will be without the services of Ross Gaynor, Dean Bennett, Greg Bolger and Michael Hector although Peter Cherrie should be available after serving a one match ban against Galway.
“Dean Bennett felt his hamstring tighten rather than tear against Galway”, he said. “It’s very sore now and it’s normally something that takes seven to 10 days to clear up. He’s suspended for the Glentoran and St Patrick’s Athletic games coming up so he may only miss one game, the Bohs game on Friday, and then we won’t have to rush him back.
“Greg is suspended for the Bohemians game so we took him out of it against Galway to let him recover from his thigh strain. Ross is also suspended and Michael Hector received a three-match ban for something that happened while he was playing in England with Reading. That’s disappointing, so he missed Galway, and he’ll miss Bohemians and Glentoran as well.”