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Kevin O'Connor on the 'added extra' that derby matches can bring

B Team Head Coach previews QPR U23 clash at Griffin park tomorrow night

4 September 2017

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Kevin O'Connor is looking forward to another test at Griffin Park when his side play Queens Park Rangers U23 tomorrow night. The B Team Head Coach sat down with iFollow on Monday afternoon to talk about his experiences against The R's and what his team can expect from the match.

"It's going to be a really tough test," said Kevin. "You don't know what you're going to come across because they might have some First Team players, we might have one or two, so that can alter the game slightly. It's a local derby, under the lights at Griffin Park, it's another brilliant experience for our players."

Several of O'Connor's squad have been away on international duty this week, something that Kevin is clearly happy to see.

"It's brilliant," said Kevin. "It's good that they go. It's hard for us to juggle things when they do but the whole point of us doing what we do is to get them recognition, especially international recognition. All credit to them, long may it continue."

Last season, Brentford B played QPR twice, winning the first encounter 3-0 before losing the second 0-2. Kevin understands how important it is to recognise a local derby at this level.

"It's really important," he said. "It's one step away from a First Team derby. I know what it's like playing against them at First Team level, for them it's about the progression so we are hoping they will get that. This is the next best thing.

"It's vitally important that we look to win the game, like we always do, but there's that added extra because it is QPR from down the road."

Asked whether anyone took him aside and told him the importance of the game when he was a youngster at Brentford, Kevin said: "I could sense it when we played them at Loftus Road. We managed to draw one-one, that was the first time I played in one. You could sense it from the fans, and the staff, and we hadn't played them for a long time so it was a big one. 

"So I'm dropping in little bits here and there, tomorrow we will touch on it again, but we have to try and keep the boys nice and calm as well and go out to play football."

Attendance levels at B Team games have been steadily growing at Griffin Park since the first game against Liverpool U23 last season. Over 1500 fans saw Manchester City U23 visit West London in May, and Kevin hopes to see some of the Brentford faithful in TW8 come kick-off.

"The atmosphere when they do come down, under the lights, is slightly different on a night game. Just to hear the fans when you're on the pitch will be great for our boys, and to hear maybe a bit of abuse as well as encouragement, whichever way it goes, is a good learning curve for them."

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