Brentford boss Dean Smith has warned his players that they can’t take anything for granted as out-of-form Sunderland head to Griffin Park on Saturday afternoon. The Bees head into the game unbeaten in five in the league, and having earned their first home win of the campaign last time out against Millwall, while Simon Grayson’s visitors head to West London without a win in ten. Despite their differing form going into the game, Dean sees The Black Cats as a dangerous opponent who need to be respected.
Speaking to iFollow Brentford before the game, Dean said: “They won’t enjoy, the big club that they are, being in the bottom three. However, it is early days and we have seen what Simon can do at this level. On paper, they have got very good players: Lewis Grabban, James Vaughan, and Jonny Williams are all quality players. We will certainly respect them. You are not given anything in this league, you have to earn it. Simon knows that and he knows how to get the best out of players. Sunderland’s position doesn’t give us any right to do anything. We ask the fans not to be expectant but to get behind us from the start. Hopefully we can all do this together and work to climb the table.”
The Bees early season has been plagued by illness and injury with a number of players missing out in recent weeks. However, having welcomed back Lasse Vibe after two months out last weekend, Dean is hopeful of having more options at his disposal for tomorrow’s game.
“Kamo Mokotjo is back after illness,” revealed Dean. “Henrik Dalsgaard played the game but we gave him a couple of days off as he was feeling the effects of not eating or drinking for a couple of days prior to the game. Other than that, we have everybody training with us apart from Rico Henry and Alan Judge. Lewis Macleod has been back with us for a while and Sergi Canos has been back with us for the past ten days. We have a number of players back fighting for positions.”
Saturday’s hard earned clean sheet was The Bees fourth in their last eight league games. Yoann Barbet, Andreas Bjelland, John Egan, and Chris Mepham have all impressed over the past couple of games when called upon, leaving Dean with tough decisions to make at the back.
“Defensively we have been solid,” said Dean. “It was a very tough decision following the performance as Middlesbrough to change both centre-backs. Chris Mepham and Yoann Barbet had done terrifically but I just felt that we needed the experience of John Egan and Andreas Bjelland against Millwall. It shows that we have a really competitive squad who are fighting to get into the team. The pleasing thing is the team spirit which, I have always said, will take you a long way. Yoann and Chris were on the pitch celebrating with the players when the final whistle went.”
At the other end of the pitch, Romaine Sawyers’ winner against Millwall was just the latest in a series of fine long-range strikes The Bees have registered in recent weeks. Having not been renowned for long-range goals over the past couple of seasons, Dean feels he has a group of players now who are comfortable having a go from range, as long as it is the right decision.
“We have got good technicians within the team,” said Dean. “Romaine Sawyers has scored some good goals, before that Alan Judge was scoring, and Nico Yennaris has netted some piledrivers as well. What we have got is players who can score from range but we want players who make good decisions about whether it is the best time to shoot or if there is a teammate in a better position. One of the big things that we have been stressing to the players is not to make a good chance better.”
Tickets for tomorrow's game are on sale to Previous Purchasers now from just £25 adults and £8 juniors. Get your tickets for the visit of Sunderland here.