Where We Are
A rousing comeback against Port Vale last Sunday will undoubtedly have been a massive boost for the team following a spate of disappointing performances and results. However the sense that lingered over Callum Wilson’s fantastic late winner was that it should have been so much better. Not only did Port Vale’s two goals come from sloppy defensive errors but Coventry absolutely dominated the Valiants for large portions of the 90 minutes. That being said, it’s been a long time since City put in such a domineering performance and also it’s been a while since the days of the stirring late comebacks of the beginning of the season.
You get the sense though that today’s opponents Brentford were the last time that Pressley would have wanted to play after laying the green shoots of recovery last Sunday. Whilst we remain in the territory of being only 2 or 3 wins away from guaranteeing safety, we are still to play Peterborough, MK Dons, Sheffield United and Wolves in our remaining fixtures after today’s trip to West London. The way in which we threw away points to the poorer sides in the division recently, failing to even snatch the odd draw has left the team in a more desperate situation than it need to be in. Today’s fixture against Brentford though will seem almost like a bonus fixture, we’re expected to lose so anything we do take in terms of points or performance will be seen as an unexpected windfall.
This week’s team news has been dominated by the return of Mike Petrasso back to QPR. The rumour is that Stoke have raised an interest in signing him on a free in the summer transfer window and that QPR are unwilling to let him return to us without him signing a new contract with the R’s. In terms of today’s game it’s a blow but given how well covered we are in wide positions it’s not as big a loss than it could have been. Perhaps the player most happy to learn this news will be Dylan McGeouch whose struggle for match fitness essentially led Pressley to sign Petrasso. Although McGeouch is unlikely to start today’s game, his path to the first team is less obstructed.
Elsewhere the main decision will be over whether to continue with the underwhelming Chuba Akpom or give the clearly not match-fit Nathan Delfouneso a chance to start. We may also see Andy Webster return to add more steel to the back four despite a relatively strong showing from the two Jordans last Sunday.
Last Time We Met
Brentford’s performance in the reverse fixture was probably the best an opposing team has given Coventry in the league this season. The Bees became the first side to defeat Coventry at Sixfields as they demonstrated the perfect blend of physicality and skill which completely removed any threat that Coventry could pose them.
How Are They Doing?
In a sense a lot has changed at Brentford since we played them back in September. They have moved from mid-table into 2nd position and looking very good for automatic promotion. Their manager that day Uwe Rosler has moved on to Wigan where he has led the Latics into the Championship play-offs and the FA Cup semi-finals. His replacement was the understated appointment of former Watford youth coach Mark Warburton. If you had never heard of him before his appointment in December then you would have been forgiven as Warburton never played football at a professional level, having made his living previously as a city banker. Warburton has taken to football management like a duck to water and has lost only once in the league, to Wolves, since taking over.
Brentford’s squad is incredibly strong and very well balanced for this level of football. Their defence will be marshalled by Harlee Dean, originally a midfielder, Dean is capable of playing the ball out from the back as well as being able to compete physically with some of the league’s most grizzled forwards. Alan McCormack arrived from Swindon in the summer is another defender capable of being both incredibly physical with opponents as well as providing quality with the ball at his feet, he’s likely to start at right-back.
Their midfield will be orchestrated around the talents of League One player of the year Adam Forshaw. Since making the move from Everton, Forshaw has developed into one of the most technically gifted midfield players in the third tier. Forshaw is capable of dictating the tempo of a match as well as chipping in with the occasional long-range goal. Jonthan Douglas provides extra steel, if it was even needed, to the Brentford midfield with Chelsea loanee George Saville developing into a true box-to-box player. In addition Brentford added Alan Judge to their squad in the January transfer window and the Blackburn loanee has taken off from where he left off with Notts County last season and has already scored a number of beautiful goals at Griffin Park since his arrival.
In attack Brentford will be able to call upon Clayton Donaldson who was one of the league’s top-scorers last season and has scored 16 in this campaign. Donaldson is a blend of physicality and pace and could be a real nightmare to our nascent back 4, whoever is selected. Marcello Trotta, the man who missed that penalty last season, has returned to Griffin Park and is their second top scorer this season. Will Grigg, another one of League One’s top scorers in 2012/13, has been something of a disappointment since making the move from Walsall last summer but remains a real threat as a goal poacher.
The impression you should get from this preview is that Brentford are truly formidable opponents, especially at Griffin Park. With our confidence as a team so brittle at this moment in time it seems like the least opportune moments for us to face this fixture. Nevertheless it’s important that we take the positives from the comeback against Port Vale last Sunday and not get overwhelmed by our opponents. It’s important that if we concede or face sustained spells of pressure that we don’t capitulate. We have shown we are still capable of grabbing late goals, let’s hope they won’t be in consolation this afternoon.
However I don’t see anything other than a Brentford win today, 2-0 to our opponents.