Seag­ulls boss ea­ger to get sea­son un­der way

Bray People - - SPORT - DANIEL GOR­MAN

‘BRING IT ON’, is the mes­sage from Bray Wan­der­ers man­ager Keith Long ahead of this sea­son’s League of Ire­land kick-off.

On Fri­day night, the Seag­ulls en­ter­tain Bo­hemi­ans at the Carlisle Grounds in the 2011 sea­son opener and Long is chomp­ing at the bit wait­ing for Pat Fen­lon and his side to roll into town.

Long said: ‘I can’t wait un­til we get go­ing on Fri­day re­ally. Pre-sea­son’s been tough. The weather hasn’t been too clever; we’ve had games can­celled etc. so whilst we have a few games un­der our belts we ob­vi­ously can’t wait un­til the sea­son kicks off on Fri­day.’

The Wick­low club’s hero­ics in the fi­nal third of last sea­son has raised the bar for the club, with many tip­ping Wan­der­ers for a mid-ta­ble fin­ish but Long isn’t wor­ry­ing about be­com­ing a vic­tim of his own suc­cess, all he’s fo­cus­ing on is Fri­day’s cur­tain-raiser.

‘You can’t get car­ried away’, ex­plained Long. ‘The sea­son hasn’t even be­gun yet and peo­ple are mak­ing pre­dic­tions but we’re op­ti­mistic for the sea­son, lets put it that way. We’ve got Bohs at home on Fri­day and we’re look­ing to kick off the sea­son on the right note. As far as mak­ing pre­dic­tions of where we’re go­ing to fin­ish, you can’t do that. You’ve got to take things as they hap­pen. It’s one game at a time, that’s our ap­proach and that’s the way we’ll al­ways ap­proach it be­cause you can’t re­ally do it any other way.

‘If we start our sea­son with a good re­sult on Fri­day that gives us con­fi­dence; we’ll grow, we’ll work harder and so on but re­ally we just can’t wait to get the sea­son up and run­ning at this stage. As far as (where we will be) fin­ish­ing the sea­son, all that stuff is for fur­ther down the line. We’re just fo­cused on Fri­day and giv­ing Bohs a good game and hope­fully we’ll get a good re­sult.’

But one dis­ad­van­tage of Bohs’ tur­bu­lent pre­sea­son cam­paign is that they have had lit­tle time to put a squad to­gether, a dis­ad­van­tage for both sides as it has also pre­vented Bray from get­ting any in­for­ma­tion on their up­com­ing op­po­nents. Long how­ever, is happy to con­cen­trate on his own set of play­ers.

‘Well we can only look af­ter our­selves. We can’t worry about what’s go­ing on with Bohs. We can only pre­pare our­selves. Ob­vi­ously we’ve tried to do that as best we can, we had a dis­ap­point­ing per­for­mance and re­sult against Lim­er­ick on Fri- day night but other than that pre-sea­son’s gone rea­son­ably well. The re­sult on Fri­day, even though it was dis­ap­point­ing, will sharpen the minds and sharpen the fo­cus of the play­ers.

‘We know what we have to work on, we know what we have to do dur­ing the week to get our­selves ready for Fri­day and make no mis­take about it, I’ve been to see Bohs dur­ing pre-sea­son and they will have a de­cent squad. They’ll have a good first 11, and they’ll be strong. The peo­ple ex­pect­ing Bohs to have a poor sea­son will be sadly mis­taken be­cause they do have a strong 11 and any team man­aged by Pat Fen­lon will be well or­gan­ised and well equipped to com­pete in this league.’

Bo­hemi­ans how­ever are not the only side adding to their squad in re­cent weeks. Wan­der­ers have also signed a raft of young­sters in­clud­ing Repub­lic of Ire­land U-19 in­ter­na­tional Conor Mur­phy and for­mer Sham­rock Rovers young­ster Dan McGuin­ness, who were paired up front to­gether for Fri­day’s 0-4 de­feat to Lim­er­ick FC.

‘We’d like to think they’d have an im­pact but they’re two young, qual­ity play­ers that we iden­ti­fied as a club to bring them into Bray and get them in­volved in our set-up. That’s the space that we oc­cupy, we’re not in the mar­ket for play­ers that are go­ing to cost a huge amount of money be­cause un­for­tu­nately a club the size of Bray has quite lim­ited re­sources so the mar­ket that we’re in is good, young, up-and-com­ing play­ers and if we can de­velop them and give them a taste of first team foot­ball then all the bet­ter. But they’re cer­tainly com­ing in to add to our squad. We hope that they can make an im­pact sooner rather than later. They’re not com­ing in just to bol­ster what’s there al­ready; they’re com­ing in to play. Ob­vi­ously they have to earn the right to play but they’re the type of young play­ers that we want be­cause its only go­ing to help us and it’ll push the good young play­ers that are there al­ready.’

While Mur­phy and McGuin­ness will be hop­ing to be in­volved on Fri­day night, two men who def­i­nitely will not be are Gary Shaw and Stephen Bren­nan.

Shaw is still re­cov­er­ing from a bro­ken foot suf­fered in Jan­uary, while Bren­nan suf­fered a calf in­jury at train­ing on Satur­day and is ex­pected to be out for six to eight weeks.

Bray Wan­der­ers’ Conor Mur­phy and Lim­er­ick’s Garb­han Broughall in ac­tion dur­ing the pre-sea­son friendly at the Carlisle Grounds.

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