Dean Smith looks ahead to Saturday’s game at home to Bristol City
Brentford Head Coach Dean Smith has called on his players to show up and put in a good home performance when Bristol City head to Griffin Park on Saturday. Huddersfield Town and Wolverhampton Wanderers have both left with the points after visits to TW8 in March and Dean is keen to see a return to winning ways in front of the home fans, especially given how tight the Sky Bet Championship table currently is.
“Our target is to win the next game,” said Dean, speaking to Bees Player ahead of the match. “There are eight games left and we want to get as many points as we can and see where that takes us. It would be great if we could try and beat last year’s total but for me it is just about Bristol City on Saturday. If we win Saturday’s game against Bristol City then we could be in the top ten and that is how tight the middle of the table has got. It is important that we get the wins and for me personally it is important that we put to rest the Wolves performance. The Burton half did that but I want our players to show up in front of our fans and put in a performance.”
Standing in the way of victory on Saturday is a resurgent Bristol City side who have won their last two matches to move a point clear of the Championship drop zone. Last time out The Robins put four past promotion chasing Huddersfield Town and Dean knows that his team will have to be at their best come Saturday.
“We have to concentrate on the now which is Bristol City,” said Dean. “They have won their last two games. Tammy Abraham has scored goals and has great movement. In him, Lee Tomlin, David Cotterill, and Callum O’Dowda they have a front four that would put fear in any team. We are quite positive about our chances and we have the players here to put in a good performance. We stopped up at St George’s Park before the Burton Albion game and we watched their game against Huddersfield Town and they were excellent. If you look at the table then their position is a false one. Their goal difference is minus three and that shows a lot of their games have been very close affairs. We will certainly have to be at our very best on Saturday.”
Last weekend’s international break saw John Egan make his debut for the Republic of Ireland, Rico Henry earned his maiden caps for England’s Under-20s and Lasse Vibe and Andreas Bjelland also went away with Denmark. Dean believes that last week’s international debuts only help to promote Brentford as a good place for young players to be and shows the amount of talent that there is within the club.
“It is a great achievement for John as he has had a great season for us and fully deserved his debut.” said Dean. “Lasse Vibe and Andreas Bjelland were called up for Denmark and Rico Henry has been in an Under-20s tournament. It was interesting looking at the teamsheet with players from Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, Everton and Brentford. That just shows what a great prospect we have with Rico. Players getting called-up certainly enhances our reputation as a developing club who get players on the pitch, playing Championship football, at a young age. Our average age is one of the youngest in this league and that just shows that the players are developing. I am really excited already for the games to come and then working with the players in pre-season ready for next season. I know that a lot of the players will be better for what’s gone on this season.”
There was further good news for the club on Wednesday as last season’s Sky Bet Championship Player of the Year runner-up Alan Judge signed a new two-year deal at Griffin Park. Dean is hopeful of seeing Alan back in a Brentford shirt before the end of the season and can’t wait to have a fully fit and firing player at his disposal.
“I have had Alan play for me and I know the impact that he has on the other players, supporters, and staff,” said Dean. “He has one scan left and then hopefully we can take the reins off him. We certainly have them on him at the moment because he wants to fly around. I am hopeful we will see him before the end of the season but I don’t want to put any pressure, or time constraints, on him. In the last few seasons he has epitomised what this club is about. He came in and helped the club get promoted. He then had a great first season and was then the standout in the second season that earned him recognition from him peers and fellow managers in the Championship. It is a great signing for us and we will bear the fruits of it when he reaches the level he was at before.”