Tyreke Wilson insists there is no excuse for Bohemians’ “embarrassing and disheartening” defensive efforts this season.
Bohs were booed off after the 1-1 draw with UCD and again last Friday night, when they took the lead at home to league leaders Derry City but conceded twice to lose, including James Akintunde’s last minute goal.
Reflecting on the run of five games without a win, manager Keith Long bemoaned basic errors from his team but also pointed to the loss of a number of experienced leaders in the close season.
The Gypsies travel to Sligo tonight having kept just one clean sheet in seven Premier Division games so far and, as the side’s skipper, Wilson pulled no punches as he assessed the campaign start.
“It’s embarrassing,” declared the full-back.
“Speaking on behalf of myself, I’m a defender, what we need is clean sheets, you can’t win games if you can’t keep a clean sheet, if you can’t win you draw the game but we are conceding very soft goals and it’s heartbreaking.
“There is a big turnover but I thought we recruited well. It’s no excuse for the really soft goals we are conceding.
“We have a lot of quality in the squad, it’s not an excuse for the players we lost, we recruited well. When it’s not going well it’s easy to look at the players we lost and look for excuses but we have to pick each other up.
“We need to get better at defending as a team, to manage the game better. We are giving up leads too easy, it’s disheartening.
“It’s tough, there wasn’t a lot said after the Derry game, everyone was heartbroken.
“We have to look forward to Sligo and get something there.”
The 22-year-old Walkinstown man returned from Manchester City in January 2020, joined Waterford and then moved to Bohs ahead of last season.
He wants to lead by example now as the Phibsboro club look for improvement.
“I take responsibility for my own performances, being captain is showing an example on the pitch,” Wilson said.
“I’m not the loudest in the dressing room, I don’t think you have to be that.
“It’s showing by performances and setting an example – you don’t have to have the armband, it’s only a piece of cloth, but I have to be better myself, show better performances week in week out.”
He isn’t ready to press the panic button, dismissing talk that Bohs will be in freefall if they lose to Sligo, who could be without in-form striker Aidan Keena, who faces a fitness test, but welcome back Nando Pijnaker.
“I don’t think so, we have to dust ourselves down and look towards the Sligo game,” he said.
“Last year we had a worse start, and after the first nine games we started to do well.
“We are still gelling as a team, it’s a new squad and we are trying to get used to each other but that’s no excuse for the goals we are conceding, they are really soft.”
Bohs will be without James Finnerty, who has resumed training after a knee injury, while Jordan Doherty (illness), Stephen Mallon (ankle) and Ryan Cassidy (ankle) are doubtful.
James Mullins is available after an ankle injury.
Wilson’s younger brother, John Ross, played in Shelbourne’s 1-0 victory at Sligo last Friday.
“I’ll be speaking to my brother,” he said. “We speak about our own games, apart from when we play each other! We’ll be analysing Sligo ourselves and see if we can exploit them.
“They had a good start, that was their first defeat. We have to look forward, go with a game plan, try to rectify the mistakes we are making as that’s what is letting us down.”
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