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“We are playing well at the moment.”

19 January 2017

Dean Smith previews Saturday’s trip to Wigan Athletic

Brentford Head Coach Dean Smith has challenged his team to take their performance from last weekend’s narrow defeat to table-toppers Newcastle United into Saturday’s trip to Wigan Athletic. The Bees dominated Saturday’s encounter with The Magpies for large periods of the game but were hit with a late sucker punch as Daryl Murphy’s header took the points for the visitors.

Speaking ahead of the trip to The DW Stadium, Dean said: “We took a lot of confidence from the game. The lads played very well and deserved more out of it. To put in a performance like that against one of the top teams in our league was very encouraging but we have to take the performance from that into a tough game now against Wigan Athletic. On Monday we came in and the disappointment was there about not picking up points but thoughts quickly turned to Wigan Athletic. They got a win at Burton, their first in a while, to give them a boost but we know that we are playing well at the moment.”

Last Saturday saw The Latics pick up their first league win in eight under former Manchester United Academy Coach Warren Joyce. The Lancastrians currently sit three points from safety in 23rd place but Dean said that no team in this division can be taken lightly.

“They have a lot of talent: Will Grigg has been scoring goals and Yanic Wildschut has a lot of pace,” said Dean. “Sam Morsy is back from Barnsley and playing well as well as Max Power and Michael Jacobs. They have got quality players so I am surprised to see where they are in the league at the moment. Warren Joyce has come in and he has his own ideas now. He will hope that they have turned the corner with that win against Burton but we have to make sure that we concentrate mainly on ourselves and what we do. This league has shown that everybody can beat everybody. Every team in this league, from top to bottom, has quality in it so you have to make sure that you are consistent in what you do. We have been that since the Norwich City game and we need to maintain that.

Coming up on the horizon for Dean and the players is an Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round tie against Premier League leaders Chelsea in a week’s time. With a number of first-team players returning to full fitness, Dean believes the onus is on the players in the current starting XI to put in a performance at Wigan if they want to keep their spot for the trip to Stamford Bridge.

“Every game you are looking to impress to stay in the team and that is what the players will have to do on Saturday at Wigan,” said Dean. “The most important game is the Wigan one so they have to be at their best to get a performance and a result. The players know what I am like and they know that if they don’t play well I will change things. We have players coming back from injury who put pressure on the shirts and that is what you always want as a Head Coach. Sam Saunders and Alan McCormack have both trained but I will have to see if the game comes too quickly for them. Callum Elder has been back training with us all week and Rico Henry has been with us all week. We have players coming back but with the Christmas period that we have just had we haven’t been able to get the minutes that we wanted into some of those players. Everybody else is fully fit.”

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