Brentford Head Coach Dean Smith is only focussed on what he can control as The Bees head into the penultimate weekend of the Sky Bet Championship Play-Off battle. Smith’s side head to relegation-threatened Barnsley three points outside the top six with just two games left to play. With Saturday's game having the potential to be make or break, Dean said the team can’t look any further than the game in front of them.
“We can only control what we can control,” Dean told iFollow Brentford ahead of the game. “We will be going all-out to get the three points at Barnsley. They are fighting for their lives; they got beaten at Nottingham Forest on Tuesday and are scrapping for their lives. We have got to play our own game and concentrate on that. We need to win if we want to take it to the last game and we will go full out there to get the three points. They will be fighting to stay up. The supporters will want to see a scrap to make sure they do. We have to make sure we are ready for that. We go there with hope and with a lot of thanks for the supporters. Their backing has been one of the biggest things for us and the players and staff certainly appreciate it. It is great to have so many following us. Hopefully we can get the result which continues it to the last week against Hull City.”
With a number of first-team players returning to action in recent weeks, Dean has been able to shuffle his pack for the last few games. Despite making those changes, The Bees are still unbeaten in their last seven, something which Dean feels shows the quality of the players that are at his disposal.
“We have 18 or 19 players that I have changed around for the last six games,” admitted Dean. “However, such is the understanding of our structure, style of play, and of each other, that the players who have come in have adapted well. I don’t think anybody could say that there has been a change in our style, or how we have played, and that is one of the things that gives me the greatest pleasure. Whoever goes in knows how we play and the structure of the team. They go in there willing to help the team as well. We probably got caught out early in the season when we had three games in a week and didn’t make the changes due to a lack of personnel. Now we have the fully fit squad we are able to get fresh legs into the team and that certainly helps us. As a coach it is helpful to have the quality of players we have got.”
On the subject of squad depth, Dean had good news to report on Alan Judge but said they were still waiting to make a decision on the fitness of Ollie Watkins.
“Alan Judge is fully fit and available,” revealed Dean. “Ollie Watkins came off at half-time and had an injection in his shoulder. We will look at him late on to see if he is fit or not. We will give him as much possibility to be fit. I thought he was outstanding on Saturday against QPR. He gave them a torrid time running at them and was unfortunate not to get a goal. He has missed a penalty, hit the post, and smashed one wide but his movement and running was tremendous. He caused them lots of problems.”
Away from Griffin Park, Dean has been linked with the vacant managerial post at West Bromwich Albion in the past couple of days. When asked about the speculation, Dean joked: “I’m a little bit disappointed I haven’t been linked with the Arsenal job. There’s always speculation and somebody’s probably put 4p on me to get the job and the odds have come down. That is how things go in football. There’s always innuendo and speculation going around and you have to deal with it. I’m really enjoying myself here. We have a really good club. Matthew Benham has been brilliant with me as have the Directors of Football. We all work very well together and, as people can see, it’s come to fruition on the pitch at the moment.”
Tickets for Saturday's trip to South Yorkshire go off sale at 2pm on Friday. The last of the free coach spaces are still available with match tickets also on General Sale. Get your tickets and travel here.