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“You have to be competitive and can’t take any backward steps”

6 April 2017

Dean Smith previews Saturday’s trip to Cardiff City

Brentford boss Dean Smith has warned his players that they need to be ready for the physical challenge as they head to South Wales on Saturday to take on Cardiff City. The Bees head down the M4 having won their last three league games but standing in their way of a fourth straight win is a Neil Warnock side who have lost just once in seven at home this year. Speaking ahead of the game, Dean said his players were well aware of the physical challenge coming their way but believes his men have the footballing ability to take the three points.

“Before you go there you know what kind of game you are getting into,” said Dean. “Neil Warnock teams are very difficult to beat. He has them well organised and they will be up for every game. You have to be competitive and can’t take any backward steps. We have to face up and hopefully our superior quality can help us win. When Neil took over they were struggling a bit but he has taken them on a run where they have climbed healthily in the league. We have had a very good away record over the last month or so but we know that we need turn up physically on Saturday. Going to Sheffield Wednesday and winning gave everybody the belief that we can go almost anywhere and win. Our last four away games have been very good performances and we need to maintain that.”

Brentford’s recent wins over Burton Albion, Bristol City, and Leeds United have elevated them into the top half of the Sky Bet Championship table and to within three points of last year’s finishing position of ninth. Dean believes it would be a great achievement to match, or if not better, last season’s standing and such a finish will show the progress being made at Jersey Road.

“We have set small targets throughout the season and winning those last three games has certainly helped us towards the target that was recently set,” said Dean. “There are no easy games in this league but we want to finish the season as we did last year. If we can put in a performance like we did on Tuesday then hopefully the result will follow. Doing better than last year would show progress and that is having sold our top goalscorer in January. As a team I think we are evolving and we are growing. As I said on Tuesday, we look like a group of men now but that will surely be tested on Saturday.”

Both Nico Yennaris and Ryan Woods limped off during Tuesday’s win over Leeds while Maxime Colin missed the game after picking up a knock on Saturday. Dean revealed that it will be touch and go for the trio but says he has full faith in whichever players line up at the Cardiff City Stadium.

“Maxime Colin is struggling with a calf injury so he will be struggling for Saturday,” said Dean. “Nico Yennaris went off on Saturday with a whack on the hip so he is 50/50. Ryan Woods got caught on his Achilles on Saturday and bravely played through it for 85 minutes on Tuesday but he is also a doubt. We will have a look in the morning and go from there. Romaine Sawyers has been playing in there and had one of his best games on Tuesday. Konstantin Kerschbaumer has been in and around it over the last month or so and done really well. Alan McCormack got 20 minutes on Tuesday so we have players who are certainly capable of filling in. We also have younger players like Reece Cole and Zain Westbrooke who have been fantastic in the group and impressing.”


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