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Preview: Brentford v Blues

This season’s reverse fixture came on the opening day.

BCFC

Blues travel to Brentford in the Sky Bet Championship on Tuesday evening.

The second game of April and part two of their Easter Weekend fixtures, it will be the Club’s first visit to the Brentford Community Stadium after the Bees bid an emotional farewell to Griffin Park at the end of the 2020/21 campaign.

Brentford’s home for 116 years, Blues won on their last visit and a repeat at the new venue would make it back-to-back league wins for Lee Bowyer’s team.

Good Friday saw Blues hold their nerve against play-off chasing Swansea City and make it two wins from two at St. Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium for the new Head Coach.

Brentford had less success on Easter Saturday as they drew with a Huddersfield Town outfit just above Blues in the table. However, that point did lift them above the Swans as they cling onto the possibility of finishing in the top two.

This season’s reverse fixture came on the opening day with Blues winning by a goal to nil in the West Midlands, their sixth win out of the last 12 meetings.

THE OPPOSITION:

Brentford will host Blues knowing that a win is imperative if they are to harbour any realistic hopes of hunting down the division’s second automatic promotion place. The Bees have won just three of their last ten Championship matches and will require an upturn in form if they are to reel in Watford who they welcome in the season’s penultimate round of fixtures.

Without this – barring a cataclysmic collapse – Thomas Frank’s men will compete in the play-offs for the second year in a row, having been beaten at Wembley by Fulham last August. The Dane has been Head Coach since October 2018 when Dean Smith moved to Blues’ Second City rivals and has turned the Bees into one of the league’s most-admired teams.

Often on the front foot, they boast the EFL’s top goalscorer (28) in Ivan Toney who signed from Peterborough United last summer as the Club saw Ollie Watkins and Said Benrahma move onto pastures new. He is ably provided by the surviving member of their ‘BMW’ attacking force, Bryan Mbeumo. The Frenchman’s ten assists is the league’s joint second-highest return.

And with the weight of Toney's counters in their armoury, it is perhaps unsurprising that Brentford are the Championship’s highest scorers. The issue comes defensively, with a clean sheet coming at a rate of over one every three games and just a trio of these shutouts have come this side of Christmas.

LAST TIME OUT:

Blues kept their heads to overcome Swansea in front of the Sky Sports cameras. Having seen a chance to take the lead slip away when Freddie Woodman saved Lukas Jutkiewicz’ first-half penalty, it seemed Bowyer’s charges would have to settle for a point. But after Ivan Sunjic was brought down inside the area, Scott Hogan ensured Blues did not squander another chance from 12-yards and fired home an injury-time winner.

Brentford came from behind to pick up a point in Yorkshire as they took on Huddersfield. Suffering the worst possible start when confusion between goalkeeper David Raya and Mads Roerslev allowed Lewis O’Brien to open the scoring, the Bees took a while to settle but were unlucky not to be awarded a first-half penalty after the ball struck Naby Sarr’s arm. Within five minutes of the second period, they were level thanks to Mads Sorensen’s effort and came close to finding a winner when Toney hit the post.

WE MEET AGAIN:

Blues 1 Brentford 0, 12 September 2020

Blues made a winning start to the current Sky Bet Championship season when they beat the Bees on the opening weekend.

Both Jeremie Bela and Jon Toral saw attempts denied before the former opened his and Blues’ account in the 37th minute. The Angolan flicked home a header from Ivan Sanchez’ dangerous corner.

Frank’s visitors came into the game more after the interval and Josh Dasilva struck the woodwork but they were otherwise wasteful in front of goal.

BLUES TEAM NEWS:

Caolan Boyd-Munce (thigh) is out through injury. Ivan Sanchez has been back in training with his teammates, but the clash with the Bees is likely to come too soon. Sam Cosgrove has recovered from a knock he sustained in Friday's win over Swansea and is available for selection.

HEAD-TO-HEAD:

Blues wins: 24

Draws: 9

Brentford wins: 12

LAST FIVE MEETINGS:

Championship 12 Sep 2020 – Blues 1 Brentford 0

Championship 15 Feb 2020 – Brentford 1 Blues 1

Championship 03 Aug 2019 – Brentford 0 Blues 1

Championship 29 Dec 2018 – Blues 0 Brentford 0

Championship 02 Oct 2018 – Brentford 1 Blues 1

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MATCH OFFICIALS:

Referee – Dean Whitestone

Assistant Referees – Mark Pottage and Steven Meredith

Fourth Official – Charles Breakspear

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