Brentford Head Coach Dean Smith admitted it didn’t take too long for him, Richard O’Kelly, and Thomas Frank to agree their contract extension at Griffin Park. It was announced earlier today that the coaching trio had signed new deals with The Bees to run through to the end of the 2019/20 campaign. With Brentford upwardly mobile in the Sky Bet Championship and with progress continuing off the pitch, Dean told today’s press conference it wasn’t a difficult decision to make to sign the new deal.
“A year’s extension for myself, Richard O’Kelly, and Thomas Frank is really pleasing,” said Dean. “It didn’t take us too long to sort it all out to be honest. I’m happy the club wanted to extend it and we are happy to stay as well. We have a great working relationship and we feel that we are all progressing as coaches and people. We feel that the club is progressing and we are all pleased that is aligned to what we want. It gives us a little bit longer and we can start planning a little bit more. Our minds are all fairly aligned which helps with progression. We are thankful that we have an owner in Matthew Benham and a Board of Directors who have a plan as to how we progress each season. It’s a long-term plan which is aimed towards the top league. When we get there, we can start again.”
Those contract extensions come towards the end of a week which has seen The Bees catapult themselves back into the Play-Off picture with back-to-back league wins against Sunderland and Birmingham City. Saturday’s 2-0 success in the North East was followed up on Tuesday night by a five-goal demolition of Blues at Griffin Park to leave The Bees just four points outside the Play-Offs. Dean feels a win at Leeds United on Saturday, to complete the perfect week, will set his side up excellently for the final quarter of the campaign.
“I have always felt that February and March are very important,” revealed Dean. “We have had good Aprils since I have been here but we haven’t been close enough to compete in the top six. This weekend will be a tough fixture at Elland Road but we have two wins from the two fixtures so far. If we can go and get the third one that will give us a great set-up for the following week against Cardiff City, Burton Albion, and Millwall. They are big weeks when you have these midweek games and we know the importance of them. Winning football games gives everyone at the club a lift. As coaches, performances are what float our boat but wins are the icing on the cake. Getting the wins has been pleasing for us but it’s about the manner of the wins with seven goals for and none conceded in two games. It’s certainly put us in a good mood going to Leeds United.”
Saturday’s opponents Leeds United have faded in recent weeks and are currently without a win in all competitions since Boxing Day. That form cost Thomas Christiansen his job earlier this month with former Barnsley boss Paul Heckingbottom taking over the reins at Elland Road. Despite their poor run of form, Dean feels The Whites still remain a threat, especially on home soil.
“Thomas Christiansen lost his job and now Paul Heckingbottom has gone in,” said Dean. “He has been close to the three points the last two games. I’ve watched both the games. Bristol City started the game really well and got the lead with two long-throws. Second-half Leeds really had a go at them, got back into the game, and then had a chance to win it at the end. They’ve then gone to Derby, who haven’t lost many games recently, and took the lead against them. I felt it was against the run of play but Derby got back into it before they took the lead again and nearly held onto it. They are not far away from that elusive victory and they need to change it around quickly, but we need to make sure that it’s not us who gives them that first victory.”
Dean also had an update on how his squad looks ahead of Saturday’s trip to Yorkshire.
“Nico Yennaris might be missing still,” admitted Dean. “He had a personal issue last week and has had sickness this week so he’s not, as yet, been training with us and the game might come too quick for him. Lewis Macleod’s been back on the training ground which is great and Sergi Canos comes back following suspension which gives us a lift. I have headaches for the team and for the bench as well. There are some very good players at this club who won’t even get on the bench.”