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First Team

Familiar Faces: Sunderland

A look at the common connections between The Bees and Black Cats

17 February 2018

The Stadium of Light will be a new venue for Brentford fans wishing to watch their team in action this afternoon but for one member of the squad it will be a return to where it all started.

John Egan spent three years on Wearside after moving over from Ireland as an 18-year-old in 2011. John was in-and-around the first-team squad for the first-half of the 2012/13 season and was handed the number 42 shirt by Martin O'Neill, the man under whom John would make his Ireland debut in 2017. A broken leg while on loan at Bradford City that November curtailed his progress and by the time he returned the following year, O'Neill had been sacked. 

John was picked up by Gillingham in the summer of 2014 having failed to make a senior appearance for Sunderland and made the most of his chance in Kent, playing 52 times and scoring 5 goals. He won the Player of the Year award in his debut season and earned a spot in the PFA League One Team of the year for his performances the following year. Since joining The Bees in 2016, John has made 54 appearances and scored seven goals. 

Sunderland's push for survival was dented in January with the loss of former Brentford striker Lewis Grabban. The frontman netted 12 goals in 18 league games, including a brace against The Bees in October's 3-3 draw, on loan from AFC Bournemouth this term but was recalled, and then sent to Aston Villa, last month. 

Others to have worn the red and white of Sunderland and Brentford include Northern-Irish international Ian Lawther, who netted 83 goals in 214 league games for the two sides during the 1950s and 1960s. Wilf Rostron spent two years on Wearside at the start of a career which ended with him playing and then coaching The Bees to promotion in 1992. Jamie Lawrence, Tommy Smith, and Michael Turner have also all represented both sides in recent years.  

Tickets for tomorrow's game will be available from turnstile 71 with no price increase ahead of the game. Click here for more information

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