Brentford Head Coach Dean Smith believes that his side go into Saturday’s West London derby against Queens Park Rangers as favourites but is still wary of the threat posed by Ian Holloway’s QPR side. The Bees have won their last three at home while Rangers arrive on the back of five straight league defeats. After winning at Loftus Road back in October, Dean admitted that it would be great to lead The Bees to a double over their rivals for the first time since 1965.
Speaking to Bees Player ahead of the game, Dean said: “To go to Loftus Road earlier in the season, put in such a commanding performance, and get that first result for 50 years was very pleasing. We have the potential to do the double over QPR which would be very good for our supporters. On current form we are favourites. QPR have lost their last five, albeit only by a single goal. Losing games certainly gives you a loss of confidence. As well as you are playing you do start to worry slightly. They have got good players and we know that there will be a really good atmosphere. On their day anyone in the Championship can perform and we have to make sure that we perform ourselves. The fans’ backing has been superb and they have seen some scintillating football at home. We have won three home games on the spin, scored eight goals and conceded none. Hopefully we can maintain that to get the victory.”
The two sides arrive at Saturday’s game in very different runs of form. The Bees have picked up 13 points from a possible 18 in recent weeks, scoring 15 goals while Rangers have lost their last five to remain embroiled in the relegation battle. Dean is keen that his side maintain the head of steam they have built up, especially as they look to improve on last season’s ninth placed finish.
“We try and harness momentum as much as we can,” said Dean. “For me you have momentum within 90 minutes let alone within a run of games. There will be a period in the game where you feel it going against you and that will be the period where you have to slow it down. The players are very good at that but when you feel that momentum going with you, as we have had in the last few home games, you have to go for the jugular. Beating last season was a challenge that I put to the players four or five games ago and they have risen to the challenge. When you throw a challenge at this group they enjoy this challenge. If we win two of our three games to go we will go above what we did last season. The performance levels at the moment are very pleasing. We are performing at a level which I believe can compete at the upper echelons of this league.”
In the opposing dugout to Dean on Saturday will be the well-travelled Ian Holloway who is back at QPR for a third spell as player and manager. Holloway is well known for his touchline theatrics but Dean insists he will be focussed purely on getting the best out of his team and not what is going on around him.
“Matchday is what we build-up for,” said Dean. “I love the training and the coaching but for me it is all about the match. I very much try and concentrate on what I do and keep a clear mind. I don’t get involved with the opposition dugout. I try to keep myself oblivious to what they are doing and concentrate on what we are doing. I am of the mindset that if I am out of control on the sideline then my players have the opportunity to be out of control. They need to see someone who is in control and has clarity in what they are doing. There is a time to rant and rave if you think that the players aren’t working hard enough. I will get the message across but clarity is the key for me. You need clarity to make good decisions during the game.”
There is mixed news for Dean on the injury front with Maxime Colin, Andreas Bjelland, and Nico Yennaris all in contention for the game but The Bees boss revealed that Alan McCormack and Josh McEachran will both miss out.
“Maxime Colin is fit and available for selection,” said Dean. “He has trained with us all week since the Monday game. Andreas Bjelland is training with us but I am not sure if he is ready to go straight in as he hasn’t played since the Ipswich Town game. He has had a clear week with us which is good and is available to go into the squad. Alan McCormack will be out with the groin strain that he picked up at Barnsley but Nico Yennaris is good to go as well. Josh McEachran is back on the green stuff but the game is too early for him.”
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