A long international break comes to an end this weekend with the return of Newcastle United, who face the overachieving Brentford at St James’ Park.
Brentford – A Factfile
Nickname: The Bees
Stadium: Griffin Park (12,300 capacity)
Manager: Dean Smith
2015-16: Championship, 9th
Major Honours: None
Daniel Bentley – GK – Bentley was signed on a free transfer as a promising young prospect following his release from Southend United, and has exceeded expectation, filling the void left by the departing and reliable David Button. Bentley has kept five clean sheets so far this campaign and looks like adding to that in the near future.
Romaine Sawyers – AM – Well known to boss Dean Smith from his time at Walsall, the Caribbean midfielder is looking to hit the ground running at Griffin Park, playing on the biggest stage of his career so far. Yet to score his first goal in a Bees shirt, Sawyers has featured eleven times, keeping his starting berth and impressing consistently.
Jake Bidwell – LB – The experienced Bidwell will be a difficult player to replace adequately due to his longevity at the Essex-based club. Still only 23, but having made 190 league appearances, Bidwell has been a mainstay at the club, and pivotal at full-back since 2011 and in the club’s rise to the second tier.
David Button – GK – Button departed Griffin Park this summer after a number of commendable appearances between the sticks. Fulham acquired his services and have benefitted from his assured performances proven by their current league position.
Jota – AM (loan) – On loan at SD Eibar this season, Jota has made the step up to Spain’s first division, warranted due to consistently impressive outings in the Championship over the last few seasons. His 11 league goals over the last two seasons will need to be replaced if Brentford are to challenge at the right end of the table.
Alan Judge – AM – 14 goals and 11 assists from midfield were vital in helping Brentford overachieve last year, however a broken leg has thwarted his progress and is yet to make a comeback this season. There was reported interest from United in the former Blackburn man’s services this summer, yet a move never materialised.
Harlee Dean – CB – Over 150 league games for Brentford in the last few seasons has been vital in keeping the defence marshalled and structured through previous managerial changes. The 25-year old has extended his contract to 2018 emphasising the fact that he is a key figure in Brentford’s spine.
Last Six Results:
Brighton 0-2 Brentford – 10/9/16
Aston Villa 1-1 Brentford – 14/9/16
Brentford 5-0 Preston North End – 17/9/16
Wolves 3-1 Brentford – 24/9/16
Brentford 4-1 Reading – 27/9/16
Brentford 0-0 Wigan Athletic – 1/10/16
An experienced Football League player, Smith most recently had 4 years at Walsall, taking the unfancied club to the Football League Trophy Final in 2015 and managing to keep the club in League One despite significant financial obstacles. Smith’s tactical and managerial nous at the higher level in the Championship may be viewed as naïve and questionable at times but currently it is working for his young Brentford side. Smith pulls no punches in his pre-match interviews and isn’t afraid of fighting talk, especially ahead of this week’s fixture, which is likely to fire up his dressing room.