“Mick McCarthy’s teams are very committed and they will make it difficult for us”
Brentford Head Coach Dean Smith feels his side head into Saturday’s match against Ipswich Town with momentum behind them after back-to-back Sky Bet Championship victories over Sheffield Wednesday and Rotherham United. After encouraging performances, if not results, against Brighton and Hove Albion, Preston North End, and Reading earlier on in February, The Bees finished off the month in good style with two wins. Now, heading into a three-game week against The Tractor Boys, Nottingham Forest, and Huddersfield Town, Dean is hoping to ride that momentum and keep the run of wins going.
Speaking to Bees Player ahead of the match, Dean said: “It is great to have a little bit of momentum. I feel that we should have had more wins on the spin. The Reading game is one that grates at me a little because our performance was more than good enough to win. It is nice to have followed that up with a good win against Sheffield Wednesday and against Rotherham United. We have got a run of games where, if we get the performances, then hopefully the results will keep ticking along. The contests that we have had over the last month have been very hard. I was very pleased last week as I thought we controlled the game and gave Rotherham United very little but I thought we were loose on the ball in the second-half and not as solid as we should have been.”
Standing in The Bees way on Saturday are an Ipswich Town side who are themselves unbeaten in five matches. With both teams on good runs of form, Dean thinks it is all set up for an entertaining affair at Portman Road against Mick McCarthy’s men.
“They have been playing very well,” said Dean. “I watched a number of their recent games and they have drawn against Brighton and Hove Albion, Leeds United, and Reading. They won at Aston Villa and drew last week against Norwich City. They have changed their system and it seems to suit them. Tom Lawrence is back and he has been a threat for them. David McGoldrick, who is always instrumental in how they play, is back from injury so it will be a tough game for us. However, we feel that we have been good over that same period so it should make for a good game. Mick McCarthy’s teams are very committed and they will make it difficult for us. If you look at the teams that they have played and the performances they have put in, it will be a tough game.”
Since the New Year, Brentford’s 11 matches in all competitions have produced 49 goals, 26 for and 23 against. While Dean has been pleased with how potent his side have looked going forward, he believes that they can’t neglect their defensive duties at the same time.
“We are scoring a lot of goals but on the other side of it we have been giving oppositions too many chances in recent weeks,” said Dean. “That is something that we are working on and trying to plug the gaps to make sure that they don’t get as many good chances as they have had over the last six or seven games. We have to be better in our defensive positions when we are attacking. As a defender you can get involved in the attacking play too much. It only takes one loss of the ball and you can be defending very quickly. That is where goalkeepers get tested more than most. They can go through a game, like Daniel Bentley did last week, where for 45 minutes he didn’t touch the ball and that is where goalkeepers’ concentration gets tested. We have to make sure that we are defenders first and taking a pride in keeping the ball as far away from the goal as possible.”
In terms of injury news for Saturday’s match, Dean is hopeful of having at least one striker back in contention but he admits that the game has come too quickly for midfielder Josh McEachran.
“Lasse Vibe is back doing light training with us so he comes into contention,” said Dean. “Philipp Hofmann is training with us but he is still a little bit sore and running a little bit gingerly around the place. He has had a nasty back injury which will be painful for a few days. We will have to wait and see whether it is too early for him. This Saturday will come too early for Josh McEachran but hopefully we will have him back soon.”