Another season at an end and another top ten finish in the Sky Bet Championship. But how did we get there? We begin our look back at the season just gone with the key moments from pre-season as Dean Smith set about preparations for the campaign ahead
The Hard Work Begins
Less than seven weeks after they had left, the boys returned to Jersey Road in late June as preparations got underway for another gruelling Sky Bet Championship season. Ahead of them lay six friendlies before the real business started at Bramall Lane against second-tier newcomers Sheffield United, on Saturday 5 August.
The General Arrives
They say the thrill is in the chase, but the chase for Kamohelo Mokotjo came to an end in early July as the South African international agreed a three-year deal with The Bees. The FC Twente midfielder had been on the club’s radar for all of two years but he was finally swooped up as Dean Smith and the Directors of Football put the finishing touches to The Bees squad for the upcoming season.
Neal signs up
Another man heading across the English Channel to join in July was Saint-Etienne striker Neal Maupay. Signed while the rest of the squad was on pre-season tour in Divonne-Les-Bains, the French youngster had scored 12 goals for Ligue 2 Stade Brestois 29 the previous season and arrived to provide competition in the forward areas
Ollie Watkins is a Bee
With Luke Daniels, Henrik Dalsgaard, Kamohelo, and Neal all aboard, Ollie Watkins became the club’s fifth permanent signing of the summer when he joined midway through July. Fresh from helping Exeter City to the Sky Bet League Two Play-Off finals, picking up the EFL Young Player of the Year award along the way, the 21-year-old signed on the dotted line of a four-year contract at Griffin Park. Not that his arrival was all good news for one sceptical fan ...
Get to the bar, Josh! Ours is a Carlsberg, thanks https://t.co/VcRosqtJD8— Brentford FC (@BrentfordFC) July 18, 2017
Pre-season ends unbeaten but not unscathed
Dean Smith’s side emerged from a pre-season campaign that had begun on a sweltering night in Hampshire and ended in the rain at Griffin Park, unbeaten and in generally good shape heading into the season. Aldershot Town had been beaten 5-1 before a draw in France against Lausanne-Sport. Oxford United and MK Dons were also dispatched on the road, the latter seeing both Ollie and Neal get off the mark for the club, with the two Griffin Park games seeing a creditable draw against Southampton followed up with victory over Celta Vigo.
However, that win over Celta did come at a cost with Sergi Canos, who had impressed throughout pre-season, picking up an ankle injury that would keep him out until September.
Pre-Season Top Scorers
Lasse Vibe 4
Reece Cole, Sergi Canos, Florian Jozefzoon 3
Josh Clarke, Neal Maupay, Ollie Watkins, Jota 1