Dean Smith admits that plenty of players have put their hands up for a spot in Saturday’s starting XI after Tuesday’s 4-1 victory over QPR at Loftus Road. The Bees have been unlucky to take just one point from their opening four games of the Sky Bet Championship season but progress to Round Three of the Carabao Cup was confirmed with Tuesday’s win in W12. Dean’s been pleased with his side’s performances so far this season and feels Tuesday’s win has been a real boost to the group.
“There are certainly a lot of smiles on faces after Tuesday night,” Dean told iFollow Brentford. “It was a good win and a good performance for us. The players have deserved that with a number of performances this season. For it to come against our local rivals is always pleasing. I was keen to stress to the players about not losing the belief or confidence. I felt that we had a lot of belief in what we were doing but we just weren’t getting the results. Tuesday night just reconfirms to the players what we believe in. I always ask the players to put in the performances that give me a problem to pick teams. On Tuesday they certainly did that.”
The Bees have been struck by a number of injuries to key players already this season with half-a-dozen players absent for Tuesday’s win. Among those missing was Jota, for whom, Dean revealed, the club has turned down a number of offers in recent days. Despite that transfer interest, Dean is hopeful of having the Spanish winger, and a number of other players in contention for Saturday.
“Rico Henry is very close while Jota and Sergi Canos are back training with us,” revealed Dean. “That is a big boost for everyone. The two Spanish boys bring a big goal threat with them. Speaking to the Directors of Football there have been a couple of bids from a couple of different clubs for Jota. None of them are anywhere near the value that we put on him. The football club have stood firm before and they will certainly do so again unless that valuation is met. Jota is good and trained today. We asked him if he was ready for Saturday and he said that he was looking forward to it.”
Saturday’s opponents Wolves have started the season impressively under new Portuguese boss Nuno Espírito Santo. They are currently third in the Sky Bet Championship and beat Southampton 2-0 last night in a Carabao Cup Second Round tie at St Mary’s. The Molineux outfit were the second tier’s big spenders this summer which included breaking the Championship’s transfer record to land Rúben Neves from FC Porto and Dean expects nothing less than a tough game.
“They have started the season really well,” said Dean. “It is not unexpected to be honest. They have spent a lot of money and signed some really good players in the likes of Ruben Neves and Diogo Jota. They have some very good players in their ranks now and it would be very much a different team to the one we played last season. The fact that they haven’t changed their team once in four league games this season tells you how they might go against us. It is about concentrating on us and what we do. Hopefully we can get some continuity from the performances.”