Brentford Head Coach Dean Smith is relishing taking on some of the Sky Bet Championship’s best over the next few weeks. Second-placed Cardiff City, sixth-placed Middlesbrough and ninth-placed Sheffield United all travel to Griffin Park before the end of the month as the race for the top six heads towards its conclusion. While it appears a tough fixture list on paper, Dean feels these are the games that you want at this stage of the season.
Speaking to iFollow Brentford ahead of tomorrow night’s game, Dean said: “Our aim is Play-Offs. Every result you get now can harm it if it doesn’t go in your favour. The loss on Saturday was tough to take because we dominated the game. We are playing teams in and around us. They are tough games but they are ones that we are looking forward to. We go into each game feeling that we are competitive and playing well. The form guide is the last six games and we have been decent in that. We have conceded only three goals in those games. Defensively we have been very tight and we will have to be so again against Cardiff City. Our performances are right up there and getting back to what they were at the start of the season. We just need results as well now.”
Neil Warnock’s Bluebirds head to West London on Tuesday night having won six on the bounce in the Sky Bet Championship to close the gap on leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers to just three points. Warnock has Premier League promotions with four previous clubs on his CV and, with Cardiff well placed to make that five, Dean feels that deserves respect but not fear.
“We are playing a Cardiff team who are full of confidence,” admitted Dean. “We certainly won’t be afraid of them but we respect what they are doing. Neil Warnock has been very good at getting teams out of this league. He gets players playing for him. They have a way they play and have been very successful. You can only tip your hat to them. They don’t lack quality in Junior Hoilett and Kenneth Zohore who can score goals out of nothing. They have players who are fully committed and that is something that any manager would want. Every man has to get a seven or eight on the day. They have players who are committed and work hard but we can certainly hurt them if we show our quality on the ball.”
Brentford lost Andreas Bjelland to injury in the opening minute at Millwall on Saturday with Dean revealing the Danish defender’s prognosis is better than first feared. In his absence youngster Chris Mepham put in another assured performance at the heart of The Bees backline. Ahead of a third game in a week, Dean admits there are likely to be more alterations to his starting line-up tomorrow night.
“I think we will make changes for tomorrow,” revealed Dean. “With the amount of games, we will need to freshen it up a little bit and get some fresh legs out there. It’s a calf strain for Andreas. He was complaining before the game that he had a tight Achilles but it is not actually the Achilles. He has a calf strain just above the Achilles which will put him out for a couple of weeks. Thankfully it is not as serious as what we first thought. I thought Chris Mepham was excellent. He came on in the second minute of the game. He belied his inexperience and is maturing every game. They chucked an experienced player in Steve Morison against him and I thought Chris handled it very well. It shows what a top prospect he is.”
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