KENNY SHIELS says it’s time for Bohemians to ditch their self-imposed underdogs tag and the ‘pretence’ of being a part-time outfit.
The Derry City boss believes the Dubliners underachieved last year and should’ve been competing with the Candy Stripes for European qualification.
And ahead of tonight’s SSE Airtricity Premier Division clash at Dalymount (k.o. 7.45p.m.) Shiels stoked the flames by adding the Gypsies should stop ‘crying’ about being part-timers.
“They pretend they are part-time but they’re not,” claimed Shiels. “They just train at a different time of the day to us. They train every day but it’s in the evenings.
“They’re getting players who have jobs and they train at night. They cry about this all the time and they’re actually full-time. They’re labouring on the part-time thing to make them feel like underdogs and they’re not underdogs - far from it!”
Shiels' comments follow Keith Long's criticism of the scheduling of Bohemians' fixtures this week against Derry and Cork City who have been given an extra day's recovery for games against the Gypsies.
Bohs played out a 1-1 draw away to Limerick on Saturday, whereas tonight’s opponents played 24 hours earlier at the Sligo Showgrounds on Friday.
The Gypsies boss is unhappy that Derry have the benefit of an extra day of rest, particularly given that Bohs are operating with a part-time set-up.
“We find ourselves playing Derry with 24 hours less recovery and preparation time than our opponents, who played in Sligo on Friday night with us playing down in Limerick on Saturday. It will also see us travel to Cork on Friday with another 24 hours less recovery and preparation time than Cork.
"Derry and Cork don’t need any further advantage over us — they already have one by being full-time. Their recovery with their players is more controlled than ours and to compete on the scheduling of these games, in my view, hands them another advantage and is unfair, especially when you factor in that we are part-time.”
The Candy Stripes go into tonight’s match bottom of the table with two defeats from the opening two away fixtures against Waterford and Sligo Rovers.
In contrast, Keith Long’s side enjoyed Dublin derby day bragging rights in a 3-1 win over Shamrock Rovers at Dalymount followed by a credible point against Limerick at Markets Field last Friday night.
And Shiels isn’t surprised by the Dubliners’ impressive start to the 2018 campaign, claiming they have ‘big advantages’ given the size of their player catchment area.
“They’ve started well but you expect that - look at the players they have. Wouldn’t it be great to have players all from the one city? It shows you the massive population they have. They have big advantages.
“Bohemians are in a great position because every player in their team is from Dublin. They have massive area to pick from. It’s a football city and a massive population.
“I was disappointed in them last season finishing in fifth. I thought they should’ve been in the European positions and would’ve expected that.
It’s been a dismal start for the City boss and he admitted there is a feeling of anxiety creeping into the Derry camp as they desperately seek to get their campaign off and running.
“Definitely. You feel that in the dressing room. The boys are disappointed in themselves. You want to try and get that first victory if you can and we have a tough game on Tuesday night. We have to make sure our preparations are good for that.”