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Dean targets first home win with "stronger squad"

Head Coach looks ahead to Millwall clash

12 October 2017

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Brentford Head Coach Dean Smith said he has a stronger squad at his disposal for the match against Millwall than he did before the international break, despite the loss of Rico Henry. Left back Rico suffered a significant knee injury in the draw at Middlesbrough at the end of September and is facing a period of rehabilitation. Dean admitted that would give him something to think about with fellow First Team left back Tom Field on loan at Bradford City but there would be opportunities for others. And he said others coming back from injury would give his squad more strength.

The Bees face Millwall at Griffin Park on Saturday and seven days later will host Sunderland in the second of consecutive home matches. Brentford have yet to win at home this term but have lost just one of their past seven Championship games in all and Dean, speaking to the media ahead of the match, said his team were playing well.

“We want to get that first home league win,” said the Brentford Head Coach. “There is a pressure on every game. We have been very good in the past few games, we are unbeaten in four or five in the league. Our performances were very good in September. We have back-to-back home games and we have to concentrate on playing as well as we can. We have a stronger squad going in to these games. We have lost Rico Henry but have more goal threat at the other end of the pitch.

“John Egan has trained through the international break and played an hour for the B Team against Exeter City earlier in the week. He is available for selection. Lewis Macleod has been training with us fully for a couple of weeks and it was great that he could get an hour. I was really pleased with Lewis, he did not look out of place at all. He can get ready to get back in to the First Team squad.

“Luke Daniels played, Ilias [Chatzitheodoridis] has been with us but is part of the B Team squad and played and it was great for Lasse Vibe to get an hour. We have a number of players coming back for this game. Andreas Bjelland missed Middlesbrough but he went away with Denmark and is available. Lasse will be available as well, that will be a big boost for everyone. Lewis will take another few weeks and Sergi Canós has done some non-contact training and should be pushing for selection next week.”

Millwall are 14th in the table at the moment, four points and five places better off than Brentford. They were relegated from the second tier in 2015 and almost bounced straight back at the first attempt, losing in the Play-Off Final. They did get up via the Play-Offs last season and Dean said he had respect for their boss Neil Harris, a former Millwall striker.

“I have every respect for the work Neil has done at Millwall,” said Dean. “They were unfortunate not to get up in 2016 when they lost at Wembley but they turned it around last season. He was a legend as a player and is becoming a legend as a manager. It will be a tough game, they have some real honest professionals and have held their own since promotion.”

The game comes after an international break. The Bees had players included Henrik Dalsgaard, Andreas Bjelland and Kamohelo Mokotjo away on international duty and all three will have further games next month to give them a chance of earning a place at the 2018 World Cup. Dean admitted the international players being away disrupted training but said the break was useful.

“It is quite disruptive to have players away,” he said. “The success of the Club means we do have players away on international duty. Henrik and Andreas have played for Denmark, Kamo played for South Africa. We had a number of the young lads away as well. It was a break that we needed because we had injured players and were dipping in to the B Team more than we wanted to. This has given us the opportunity to recover, reflect on the previous month and prepare for Millwall.” 

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