Brentford Head Coach Dean Smith feels the next few weeks will be crucial in deciding the outcome of The Bees’ season. Saturday’s visit from Preston North End signals the start of the final third of the season with Brentford currently 11th in the Sky Bet Championship, eight points outside the top six. With Alex Neil’s Preston one of the teams between Brentford and the top six, Dean feels it’s vital his side take all three points this weekend.
“As a manager you know that if you don’t play well you have to lift the players but we have played well in the last two games,” Dean told iFollow Brentford ahead of the game. “We haven’t been at our peak but we did enough to win both games. As a team and a group of staff we know that it is only the next game which is important. Two defeats is a setback but it is not failure by any stretch. We will get back on the horse but we now have a tough game against Preston North End. They have good players all over the pitch, pace in wide areas, and experience at the back. It is one that we know we have to win if we want to climb up the league. February and March are the important times as they will keep you in and amongst it. We have had good Aprils before but if you are too far away then a good April means nothing to you.”
After a free scoring December and early January, The Bees have failed to find the net in their last two league outings: a 1-0 home defeat to Norwich City and last weekend’s 3-0 loss on the road at Derby County. That failure to score hasn’t been for a want of trying as The Bees have registered more shots than anyone else in the top four leagues this campaign. And Dean feels that as long as his side continue to create those chances then the goals will flow again soon.
“We haven’t scored in the last couple of games but we create enough opportunities for me to know that we will,” said Dean. “If you look at our goals for column in the last couple of seasons it’s been very healthy. We have scored from all over the pitch this season which has been pleasing. Romaine Sawyers has started scoring, Nico Yennaris can score, and Ollie Watkins looks like getting on the end of things. The goals have been coming from all areas and we have to make sure that we create the opportunities because, if we do, we will put them away.”
One player who won’t feature on Saturday is Sergi Canos following his early red card during Saturday’s defeat to Derby County. The Spanish winger was dismissed for a challenge on Marcus Olsson 20 minutes into last weekend’s game. During the week, The Bees chose not to appeal as, despite Dean continuing to disagree with the decision, he felt there wouldn’t be enough evidence to overturn the three-game ban.
“The only two we have unavailable are Rico Henry with his long-term injury and Sergi Canos,” revealed Dean. “I have viewed it from a whole lot of different angles and my view is still that it is a good tackle. I was watching it back from one angle and Gary Rowett and I are stood there with our hands in our pockets. The tackle is made and we still have our hands in our pockets which gives me a great view of what we both thought about the tackle. We could go and appeal it but there is a danger that it could be deemed frivolous because you have to prove a clear and obvious mistake from the referee. I don’t think you can do that with the pictures so we have to take it on the chin.”
Dean also gave an update on Lasse Vibe’s future with the Danish striker’s move away from The Bees heading towards completion.
“I think it’s a case of dotting the I’s and crossing the t’s,” revealed Dean. “It was one that we always said was more likely to happen than not. He has done great for me and I have been a big fan of his while he has been here. He will be missed but he will be replaced. He was a very intelligent footballer and scored a number of goals for us. However, he missed large parts of this season with injury and missed large parts of last season too. We wish him and his family well as they will be missed as people. Those people who were close to Lasse would have had an inkling. We have gone through a number of unsettling times before where players have gone but we have dealt with them. We are good with that because we never get too high or too frustrated when people move on.”
Tickets for Saturday's visit from North End are on General Sale now. Help The Bees return to winning ways at Griffin Park from just £23 adults and £6 juniors. Get your tickets now.