Brentford Head Coach Dean Smith has warned his players that any complacency about the Emirates FA Cup Third Round Proper tie against Notts County will be punished. The Bees enter the world’s oldest cup competition on Saturday, 6 January, when County come to Griffin Park. County are in the Sky Bet League Two promotion shake-up and Dean has said The Bees have a potential banana skin on the horizon.
Brentford reached the Fourth Round last year with a win over Eastleigh but were knocked out by League One Walsall two years ago. County have beaten Bristol Rovers and Oxford City to get to this stage and are second in League Two having lost just four games all season. Dean said he was looking to win the game and have more great days in the cup like ones he has experienced in the past
“Notts County will be a potential banana skin for us,” said Dean. “They will be very tough. They have done fantastically this season. They have good, experienced players, we have to make sure there is no complacency and play to our strengths.
“I have had some great days in the FA Cup. When I was at Leyton Orient we knocked Fulham out when they were in the Premier League. It is a great competition. We played Chelsea last year and that was a great experience for the players.”
Brentford lost to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Tuesday to end a run of three straight wins. It was only their third defeat in 19 league matches and The Bees have not lost at home in the Championship since August. Dean said he and the players were pleased with the Christmas games and victories over Norwich City, Aston Villa and Sheffield Wednesday but the Wolves defeat had left a tinge of disappointment.
“We are pleased with our performances and results over the Christmas period, albeit tinged with a little bit of disappointed about the defeat at Wolves,” he said. “If there is one place you do not want to have a dip in performance it is Wolves and we were punished for that.
“The players are pleased with themselves, albeit we let one get away on Tuesday because we didn’t play to our capabilities. We had a debrief and the lads were open about what we could have done better. They could have scored three or four in the first half but we felt we were in control. That is where we need to be better; we need to create more when we are in control.”
Dean said the run of games meant changes were likely to the cup tie but winning the game was the primary focus. He said Tom Field was ill so may not feature after returning from a loan spell at Bradford City and Henrik Dalsgaard may not be ready after a heel injury. Other players may miss out due to needing to rest but Dean had no complaints about the fixture schedule.
“It has taken a lot out of the players and I am sure I am not alone in saying that,” he said. But I will not be complaining about the festive fixtures, I like them. Footballers are professional athletes paid to play football games and when they are on you play.
“We will patch the players up as best we can for Saturday and we have others wanting minutes. We will go in to the game to try and win it. We will make some changes but that is more to do with players being spent after what they have put in over the past four games.”
Tickets for Saturday’s match are still available. More information can be seen here.