Friday evening’s match in Dalymount Park is sold out. Coverage on RTE2. Kickoff 7.45pm

Going back to UCD, were you pleased with the performance and four goals on the night?
I was really pleased. Obviously, we came out the back of it having two good victories and we wanted to go into the break with nine points and we did that. It was a good performance and we scored four and kept a clean sheet, so overall it was a good night’s work.

Kieran Cruise scored his first senior goal for the club. It looked like he really enjoyed that one so how nice a moment was that for him?

I think it was brilliant for everyone involved in the squad to see Kieran get that and have that moment. I think he’s had a difficult time off the pitch. He’s missed training for the best part of three months and it was great to get him back on the pitch. You can see how happy the players and the staff were for him to have a moment like that. He’s done well when he’s had his opportunities so far, which is all you can ask for, so it was great for him and the group.

We were on a good run of wins before the break. Was that important to recover from the two defeats setback and then put ourselves in a good position, especially with Europe around the corner?

Yeah, I think we spoke enough about the two defeats. We all understand the reasons why we lost both games and I felt we were still in a good place. We just needed to refocus and to be fair to the players, they’ve done that and we’d three important wins so I think it was important to get back to winning ways before the break.

How did the players and staff get on during the international break in terms of days off and relaxation?

We always look to let the players get away, from each other, from the training environment and allow them to go and spend time with family or friends, and that’s important. Last year, how good our season was, you don’t get many breaks between now and the end of the season so we left at an important time for us as a group to switch off. We did that and came back and we’ve had a good week’s training before another difficult week ahead.

Pico and Markus both started games for their countries. Markus played against a good Belgian side, Pico qualified for the African Cup of Nations once again with Cape Verde, so a great achievement and good for the club as well?

It’s brilliant when you have international players. It means the players are doing something right, for them and with the team as well. I’m proud when I see the players play for their countries. I think it’s the pinnacle of any player’s career. So, I’m delighted for Pico again qualifying and Markus obviously had a tough game against one of the best teams in the world. But that experience and that understanding of playing in those sorts of games will only help us as a team, to bring that experience back to our group, which is really important.

How were those two in terms of fitness after travelling back?

Both are good. Pico came back early in the week which is good and Marcus came back today so both are doing okay. No knocks, no injuries.

Is Alan Mannus back in training and what’s the latest on Aaron Green’s injury after he was taken off against UCD?

Alan’s splint has been taken off his finger so he’s now basically just on the rehab stage of getting ready to play, which is a real positive. Aaron Greene thankfully wasn’t a break, just badly bruised ligaments but I imagine another week and he’ll be back. It’s good news on both because Aaron’s, we feared the worst and when you see Aaron he doesn’t usually come off or anything like that, so hopefully he’s okay.

It will be good to have Richie Towell back from suspension. Is anyone else missing with injury or yellow cards?

It’s great to have Richie back. There are no suspensions, one or two knocks that we need to assess but in the main, we’re nearly there in terms of a full squad to pick from. I’d imagine Friday will still be a bit early for Trevor Clarke so him and one or two others we’ll give them every opportunity to be right.

As for Bohs, they’ve only won one of their last seven but they’ve ground out a few results at the same time. Are they still difficult to beat despite their drop off in form a bit from the start of the season?

It’s going to be a difficult game, we know that. I said every time we played them that they have good players and that hasn’t changed so we know we’ve got to go and respect them but then impose ourselves on the game as soon as possible, and play to our levels and our standards. We know if we do that that we’re very difficult to beat. So it’s going to be about respect and then focusing on what we do in our performance.

Will you look for a repeat performance from Dalymount back in April to come away with the three points because Rovers were very good all over the pitch that day?

Yeah, of course. I think we’ve just got to continue the performance levels that we’ve had. We feel we’re doing well and we just need to stay there, we know this team gets stronger after the break every year, and we’ll be looking to do that again this year. That starts on Friday.

Bohs away, Derry at home and we’ve got the European draws as well so is it an exciting time around the club with two big games, especially for the fans with a derby and Champions League games to look forward to as well?

I think we’ve known over the last few years when we’ve been successful that usually the second half of the season, the team’s involved in big games and that’s what we want. That’s what we’re all here for and they start now, they start on Friday night and between now and the end of the season, they’re usually big games.