Bees Head Coach Dean Smith admits he’s never had an easy game against a Mick McCarthy side and doesn’t expect it to be any different on Saturday when Ipswich Town head to Griffin Park. The 59-year-old has already announced that these will be his last six games in charge after five-and-a-half years at Portman Road. Despite that, Dean doesn’t feel that makes Saturday’s task any easier and believes his side will have to be every bit as good as they were during Monday’s win over Bristol City to take the points.
“I have never had an easy game against one of Mick’s teams and I’m never likely to,” Dean admitted to iFollow Brentford ahead of the game. “It’s going to be tough and we are going to have to be as good as we were on Monday to win. It looks, from the outside, that he has a fantastic relationship with the players. They have played as much as they can for him and will continue to do so. I saw Mick’s comments the other day about the driverless car; I did like the analogy. It must be very tough for him knowing that he is leaving at the end of the season but with games continuing. He’s done a fantastic job there. I know what a professional he is and what a tough game it will be on Saturday.”
Monday’s victory in the West Country was The Bees first in five matches and cut the gap on the Play-Off places to five points with half-a-dozen games to play. Dean admits there are too many permutations at this stage of the season to worry about what is going on elsewhere, all he and the players can do is focus on taking the next three points available.
“Our mindset is just to concentrate on the game,” said Dean. “We came off the pitch on the Friday against Sheffield United and, as a coaching staff, we were disappointed with our performance. It wasn’t until later when we realised we had gained a point on the Play-Off spots. We then got the win and again it’s not until later that you look and realise that you have got a little bit closer. It is about one game at a time and seeing where that takes us. It is amazing that all the way down to 11th seem to be involved. With Leeds United getting beaten at Fulham on Tuesday night there is a little bit of a gap opening up. Hopefully, we can close that gap even further.”
Dean made six changes for Monday’s trip to Bristol City, one of which saw top-scorer Ollie Watkins moved into a central-striking role. The 22-year-old was a constant threat to The Robins backline and was unlucky not to add to his tally of 11 for the season. The Bees Head Coach was delighted with his display and admits that he gives the side a different option when playing up front.
“Ollie is a player who can play in any of those four attacking positions,” said Dean. “When I walked away from the game on Friday night the idea had come into my head to give him a go up front. I believe that he can play in that position. I believe we have a lot of players who come towards the ball but he can go the other way. He certainly gave Aden Flint and Bailey Wright problems by running down the side of them. It is something we can use and that he can get better at. He had a number of shots on Monday that were blocked. He put a terrific shift in for us and gave us another dimension.”
With five days to recover from Monday’s exertions, Dean is hopeful of having a near fully-fit squad at his disposal on Saturday.
“The only one who really has a problem is Florian Jozefzoon who went over on his ankle in the final minutes on Monday and had to limp through to the end for us,” revealed Dean. “He is the only doubt really. Lewis Macleod was back training today so he will be fresh for Saturday. If we do lose one then we have others to come back.”
Tickets for Saturday's game at Griffin Park are on General Sale now. Adult tickets start at £23 with Under-18s just £6. Get your tickets to back the team against The Tractor Boys here.