Dean Smith feels Bolton Wanderers will give it a right go when they head to West London in the Sky Bet Championship this weekend.
The Trotters have enjoyed a good Christmas period, picking up nine points from their last four league outings to climb to 20th, a point above the drop zone. With problems, on and off the pitch, at the start of the season, Dean Smith said his opposite number Phil Parkinson has done a great job this season and is predicting a tough encounter at Griffin Park.
Speaking ahead of the game, Dean told iFollow Brentford: “We want to follow up from the festive period. Can we continue on from three wins out of four? It’s back to Championship football now and making sure we go and get the right performance. Bolton had an embargo on them for the start of this season and had a really tough start to the season. Neither team had won a game but we scored three magnificent goals to get the win there. Since then we have had a superb run of form but so have they. They’ll fancy their chances of coming here and upsetting the bookmakers. They will give it a right good go and we will have to be at our best to beat them. I think Phil Parkinson’s done very well. We have to make sure that we, as a coaching staff, are bright and ready for it.”
After five games in 15 days over the festive period, it’s been a little bit more sedate at Jersey Road with a whole week between Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup tie against Notts County and Saturday’s encounter with Bolton. In the absence of games, Dean admits it’s been nice to get some coaching done on the pitches, especially as he’s welcomed back more players from injury.
“We have had a full coaching week and we have had good numbers on the training ground too,” admitted Dean. “With players coming back from injury it has been good to get pretty much everybody out there. Henrik Dalsgaard has trained with us all week. He hasn’t played any minutes since Birmingham City so I would be a fool to put him straight back in. He’s looked good in training and hasn’t appeared to have had any after effects of the training week either which is really positive. Apart from that everybody has been pushing on strong. I have selection problems not just for the first XI but for the bench as well. The better they train the more chance they have of getting themselves into that team.”
Bolton also provided the opposition on the day which Dean was announced as Bees Head Coach back in November 2015. On the night, the two sides drew 1-1 at The Macron Stadium, with just four members of that night’s starting XI still at Griffin Park. Now heading into his fourth calendar year in charge, Dean feels that the club is most definitely moving in the right direction.
“We feel that we are building as a club,” revealed Dean. “There were foundations already in place but we are just adding to that. We are getting better and better. Our targets for players, mentally, physically, and tactically, are higher and higher. The league position we are aiming for is also getting higher. By doing that you can see that you are moving in the right direction. Our job while players are here is to improve them. If we improve them then we improve the team. We are learning all the time. On the training ground, it was great when Thomas Frank came in with fresh ideas. We also now have Lars Friis in as an Individual Development Coach who will bring fresh ideas. As a coaching group, we are pushing each other all the time and we are trying to push that onto the players.”
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