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Dean Smith: “It is a stern test and one that we have to make sure that every player is ready for”

17 November 2016

Bees Head Coach looks ahead to Saturday’s trip to Blackburn Rovers

Dean Smith is expecting a tough test at Ewood Park on Saturday as his side travel to Blackburn Rovers looking to bounce back from the disappointing defeat to Fulham last time out. Rovers are currently 23rd in the Sky Bet Championship table, two points from safety, but despite their lowly league position, Dean is expecting a stern examination from Owen Coyle’s side this weekend.

Speaking to Bees Player ahead of the match, Dean said: “Everyone is good. They are nice and fit and refreshed and looking forward to the game now. It seems a long time since the disappointment of the Friday night against Fulham but we have put that to bed now and it is about putting in a performance and getting a result against Blackburn Rovers. We know that it is going to be a tough game. We need to make sure that we are mentally focussed as we are certainly physically prepared. If the mental side of it is good, and the tactical side is good, then we will be a force. Our performances this season have been a little bit inconsistent and we have to get back to a more consistent performance level. If we do that and play at our normal tempo we will be ok. It is a stern test and one that we have to make sure that every player is ready for.”

Consistency has been a key word around Griffin Park in recent weeks with The Bees not recording back to back wins since August. Dean feels that the performances against Newcastle United, Reading, and Brighton and Hove Albion have shown that his side can come compete with anyone in the league but they need to do it week in week out to push higher up the Championship table.

“The consistency element is something that we are working on,” said Dean. “The average age of our players is the youngest in the league but they are getting a lot of experience. They are getting better and they are becoming more consistent but there are lapses in concentration that we are trying to drill out of them in training. If we can do that then we have some very good young players not just for this season but for the future as well. We have shown in all the games this season that we can compete. We know that we can compete against the teams at the top of the table but it is about competing consistently, week in week out. If you can do that then you become victors.”

Last week’s international break saw Andreas Bjelland recalled to the Denmark starting XI for the first time in more than 16 months for The Danes 4-1 World Cup Qualifying win over Kazakhstan. After battling back from a serious knee injury, Dean said it was a great boost for Andreas to regain his international place and his call-up, as well as those for Lasse Vibe and Romaine Sawyers in recent months, shows that people are taking notice of the performances being put in by Brentford players. 

“The group are pleased for Andreas,” said Dean. “It has been a long time out for him. He has probably been playing a little bit out of position but he has been playing and playing well enough to get noticed again. He played really well in the game against Kazakhstan, which they won 4-1, and then he planned to play 45 minutes against Czech Republic. He came back a little bit tired so we gave him a little bit of extra time off but he is looking forward to the game now. Lasse Vibe was away with Denmark at the Olympics and Romaine Sawyers has been away with St Kitts and Nevis already this season. There’s also talk about John Egan for Ireland so that shows that they are getting noticed for what they are doing.”

It was also confirmed at the Press Conference that Callum Elder has sustained a minor thigh injury delaying his return to first-team training. Jack Bonham is back in contention for a place in the squad for the trip to Blackburn Rovers while Sam Saunders is expected to return to first-team training next week.   

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