Quarter Two, and January, of this season was a challenging one for our players and staff. The loss of Technical Director Robert Rowan in November was felt throughout the Club. Rob’s hard work and dedication to this team will never be forgotten by anyone associated with Brentford B.
On the pitch, the squad faced Premier League opposition in Southampton and Huddersfield Town, as well two local derbies against Queens Park Rangers. Both R’s games ended in victory for The Bees, 3-1 and 3-2. A trip to Ibrox Stadium was a highlight, despite coming away on the back of a 3-2 defeat. Our biggest victory of the season so far was registered in November, a 6-0 win over Reading at Jersey Road.
The team also entered the Middlesex Senior Challenge Cup and the London FA Senior Cup for the first time as a ‘B’ team. The first two rounds of the Middlesex competition saw the team win 4-0 over CB Hounslow United and 2-0 against Wealdstone FC, while the London Cup produced a 3-0 win over Met Police FC and an Extra Time 3-2 result against Wingate & Finchley FC.
So far, the B Team have played 32 fixtures across seven full months of the 2018/19 season.
January saw the departure of former B Team defender Chris Mepham to AFC Bournemouth. His journey through the B Team is one that we hope will inspire our current crop of players to shoot for. He’s still a young player with a lot of potential and we’ll certainly keep an eye on his progress in the Premier League.
Theo Archibald also returned from Forest Green Rovers after half a season on loan at The New Lawn. He has come back with more league experience, a professional goal and has also gained some new perspective. He’ll be working with both First Team and B Team coaching staff for the rest of the season and will hopefully get into a match squad before the end of this term.
Recently Thomas Frank decided to give minutes to both Marcus Forss and Mads Bech Sorensen with Brentford B as they made their way back from injury. Both were promoted to the First Team picture at the start of the year and we were pleased to see them included in the 3-1 victory over Barnet on Tuesday 5 February. Both are also making strides with their international sides, Finland and Denmark, with Under-21s football the latest call-ups for the two of them.
Kolbeinn Finnsson also received his first call-up to the senior Iceland National Team in January. He now has two full caps to his name, which is an incredible achievement for a member of our squad. It's a credit to his hard work that he managed to get himself into the squad after only a short time in the Under-21 setup.
First Team Training Sessions: 394
First Team debuts 18/19 season: 2
First Team debuts B Team overall: 9
- European Tours Y3-Q2: 1
- European Games Y3-Q2: 3
- European Tours July-December: 2
- European Games July-December: 6
December was the final European Tour taken by Head Coach Kevin O’Connor, who stepped into a role with the First Team ahead of the New Year. He has since settled in well, helping Thomas and the squad to an unbeaten run that lasted through January. Each of the three games produced a different challenge for the team. Brescia Under-21s were technically strong, Red Bull Salzburg pulled out a draw in the dying minutes of the game, while FC Chiasso were a team we knew very little about before kick-off.
A short trip to Munich on 12 January 2019 was a resounding success for the squad, both in terms of the 5-2 result and the coverage from BBC Sport that featured Andrew Aloia’s interviews with a handful of B Team staff and players.
Our most recent trip to Faro, Portugal failed to yield a victory for the team but did give the squad three of the toughest games ever faced by this group. Slavia Prague, current Czech league leaders, were dominant, while Danish Superliga side AGF Aarhus showed a clinical edge. The final game against Dortmund II was a great game between two well-matched sides, separated in the end by a single goal in stoppage time.
In January we added three new members to the B Team squad; Jaden Brissett, Fredrik Hammar and Gustav Mogensen. All three of these players are ones that we believe have huge potential. Gustav is a powerful forward at such an early stage in his development, so he will bring something different to the team. Fredrik was on trial with us previously and impressed the coaching staff, but we didn’t have the space in our team until this window. Jaden is quick and can play in midfield or attack, meaning an opportunity could come up for him in several positions.
Jayden Onen joined the squad in December, signing on a free transfer from Brighton & Hove Albion. He has since been a constant presence in the middle of our team, his confidene on the ball growing in every game he plays.
Canice Carroll joined Swindon Town on loan in January. We felt this was the right time for him to get some First Team football in a lower division. It will help his development and we are already receiving positive reports from the coaching staff in Wiltshire.
Jarvis Edobor has played for both Brentford B and Maidstone United during his youth loan spell with The Stones. We are hopeful that he will extend his loan to the end of the season with a clause continuing his development at both clubs.
Reece Cole returned from a loan spell with Maidenhead United in the winter before heading back out to Macclesfield Town. We know that he has so much potential in the middle of the park but his opportunities here were limited, so a temporary move away was the best for both parties.
We are excited to be going up against Barnet and Dulwich Hamlet in the Semi-Finals of both cup competitions this season. The Dulwich game has been confirmed for Champion Hill on Tuesday 12 February, while we are still awaiting confirmation from Barnet to secure a date for the second tie.
On Friday 8 February we will be in Tallaght, Ireland, to play Shamrock Rovers in their final pre-season friendly at their stadium just outside Dublin. Last season’s match there was a great occasion and we are looking forward to giving them a similar test in front of a healthy crowd.