Brentford Head Coach Dean Smith is expecting goals when his Bees’ side head to the KCOM Stadium on Saturday to face Hull City. The Tigers, who appointed Nigel Adkins as their new Head Coach this morning, are the top scorers at home in the Sky Bet Championship but have also shipped the second most goals on home soil, while The Bees arrive on Humberside having found the net 12 times during their last six away days. Dean admits that the appointment of Adkins does make analysing the game a bit more difficult but believes it will still be an open and entertaining game.
“It will change what we expect,” Dean told iFollow Brentford ahead of the game. “He will have different ideas to the previous manager but how much you can change in two days training as they are still the same players. It is the same players who were there last week and Nigel has the same pot of players to choose from this week. He will certainly have his own ideas and look to put his stamp on things early. We are an attacking team, as are they, so there should be goals. We have prided ourselves on our defensive displays this season and we certainly feel that we have tightened up on giving clear chances away. It is going to be a tough game as they have good players. Nigel will want a good start having gone in there so I expect them to be pretty solid in that first game.”
Brentford go into the game having lost just once in 13 in the Sky Bet Championship and with Florian Jozefzoon and Neal Maupay both back in contention after they missed the weekend win over Fulham. With Lewis Macleod also back, Dean is delighted with the options that he has at his disposal as The Bees look to continue their fine recent run of results.
“The players have been in a good place most of the season,” said Dean. “We feel that we are in a reasonable position in the league. It could be better as we don’t feel that we have got the points tally which we deserve but Saturday was a great way to bounce back from the 95 seconds at Loftus Road. One defeat in 13 shows that we are pretty consistent at the moment and confident anyway. The squad options are something that we wanted and they will certainly give us a threat. They will also give me some selection headaches which is what I want. This season I am looking over my shoulder and I know that I can change the match. The squad of players that we will have available will certainly give us that.”
Another player making progress back towards the matchday squad is Alan Judge. The Irish midfielder played his first minutes since April 2016 when he featured against Barnet for Brentford B on Tuesday. Dean admitted the original plan didn’t have the 29-year-old back playing this soon but said his coaching staff had been impressed with how Alan had done on his return to full training.
“We are all really pleased for Alan Judge,” said Dean. “Myself, Richard O’Kelly, and Chris Haslam all went to watch it so he certainly had his own fan club there. It is great to have him back as he has been working hard on the training pitch. Getting 45 minutes was the next step in his recovery process and we can step that up against Wolverhampton Wanderers for the B Team next week. We don’t really have a return date so we will take it on a game by game basis. It is quite a unique injury and his body will tell him how quickly, or slowly, to go. We all looked at him in training last week and said he was ready to play some football because originally Barnet wasn’t pencilled in for him. However, we looked at him and thought we should let him go. We are really pleased with what we saw.”
Away from Saturday's game, the Emirates FA Cup Third Round draw has handed Smith’s Bees a home tie against Sky Bet League Two high-flyers Notts County at Griffin Park. Kevin Nolan's side are currently second and unbeaten in six in the league. While Dean acknowledges The Magpies will be a tough test given their current league form, he is very happy with a home tie and a chance to progress.
“I am pleased that we are at home,” said Dean. “You don’t really want to be playing an FA Cup tie against a team that is in your league. They are a couple of leagues below us but they are going really well under Kevin Nolan. It will be a tough game and one that we can’t take lightly. A home draw is ideal as you don’t want to be travelling too far. We have taken all cup competitions seriously. With the quality at our disposal we can certainly use that when it comes to the game.”