Dean previews Saturday’s trip to Preston North End
Head Coach Dean Smith has called on his side to replicate their recent Griffin Park performances on the road as The Bees face three away games on the spin in the next 12 days. After Saturday’s trip to Preston North End, the side head to Reading on Valentine’s Day before travelling to Sheffield Wednesday a week later. Following two stirring home performances against Aston Villa and Brighton and Hove Albion last week, Dean said his team must now start to pick up points on the road as well.
“It is about time that we started performing well away from home as well,” said Dean, speaking to Bees Player ahead of the match. “We want more performances like we did against Birmingham City. If we can take that sort of performance into the game against Preston then we will have a chance. It is about being committed in what we do. Away from home we have to make sure that we put in the performances that have become the norm at home in the last few games. Against Aston Villa we were excellent and made very good players look average, likewise against Brighton. We look like we have got goals in us and that we are going to create chances. We have had two games since selling our top goalscorer this season and scored six goals, with five different scorers.”
Standing in The Bees way on Saturday are a Preston side who were thrashed 5-0 at Griffin Park back in September. Since that defeat however, North End have proved a tough nut to crack and go into this weekend’s match just seven points outside the Play-Offs. History is on Brentford’s side, winning the last six meetings between the two, but Dean said that will count for little against a tough Preston side at Deepdale.
“I am sure that Preston would have been smarting because I didn’t think it was a 5-0 performance,” said Dean. “We scored two or three of our goals when they went down to ten men but it was still a good performance. I said at the time that I thought Preston were a good team and I think it has been proved that they are. They have picked up some really good results this season and Simon Grayson has done a great job there. It will be tough for us. Saturday’s game will be decided in both boxes. I think if our midfielders play anywhere near where they have been then they can certainly go and control the football. We have to be big and strong in our box: they have Simon Makienok and Jordan Hugill who have been a threat over recent weeks. They have got the pace of Callum Robinson and the quality of the delivery from Paul Gallagher. There are a lot of players who we have to be wary of.”
Dean will have an almost fully-fit squad to choose from on Saturday. Maxime Colin is back in contention after missing Sunday’s dramatic 3-3 draw with Brighton while there was also good news concerning two of The Bees longer-term absentees.
“Rico Henry is back in full-time training with us now which is good,” said Dean. “He will probably play for The B Team next Tuesday. That will be his first game and we will try to arrange a game for him the week after as well. After that we can think about him for the first team. Alan Judge is also training with us at the moment. He is in non-contact training but you wouldn’t think that from having him around us. He is progressing well but we will be guided by the medical staff with Alan. Everybody else is fit and well and those that played Sunday came out of it unscathed.”