Brentford FC manager Thomas Frank used three phrases to describe his club’s new loan signing Winston Reid.
“Big quality, big personality and big experience – and that’s exactly what we need. On top of that it is an area where we are very low on numbers at this moment in time. Pontus [Jansson] is out, Charlie [Goode] is unavailable and Luka [Racic] is out. So we only have two centre backs,” he said.
The New Zealand international had a brief loan spell with MLS side Sporting Kansas City last year but has not played first-team football with parent side West Ham United since 2018.
This does not worry Frank, though, who said: “He looks fit, ready – of course maybe in a few weeks he’ll be top, top but with his experience, he could play tomorrow and 90 minutes if needed.”
Tomorrow’s game for high-flying Brentford, who are unbeaten in their last 17 league games, is against ninth-placed Bristol City, who themselves are three points off the playoff positions. The last time these two sides met was New Years Day 2020, when Brentford demolished the Robins 4-0 at Ashton Gate.
Bristol City have struggled away from home recently, losing five of their last six in the Championship, but Frank sees tomorrow night’s game at the Brentford Community Stadium as another tough challenge.
“We know [Bristol] can be a threat with a lot of crosses and a lot of players in the box, and on their day they play some tough football.
“I have big respect for them and Dean Holden. He’s done well under difficult circumstances when he was hit by a lot of injuries to his starting 11. So big credit to him and his coaching staff,” Frank said.
Different players stepping up, including Tariqe Fosu
Apart from Manchester City, there is arguably no team across the top four English leagues who are in a richer vein of form than Brentford. A victory against Bristol would see Brentford climb into the second automatic promotion position.
Frank’s side have won five of their last six in the league, scoring 17 goals in the process, with seven of those coming against Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday. Nine different goal-scorers have contributed in that period, which Frank was keen to point out.
“It is so important that our team has a threat all over the pitch – Tariqe Fosu has chipped in with goals in important matches, Sergi Canos we know can score goals, Josh Dasilva is a goal threat and maybe more important Samman Ghoddos, who I think is a top player and will only grow and get better.
“Henrik Dalsgaard [is dangerous] on set-pieces and Ethan Pinnock, so we have different threats and we are not a one-man band to Ivan Toney. We are so much more than that,” he said.
The Bees manager has been particularly enthused by 25-year-old Fosu’s recent run of form which has seen him net four goals over the past month.
“I think Tariqe is a good player and I think one of the things is consistency in the way he plays but what we’ve been working on with him a lot is arriving in the box and getting in the right areas, and that is why I’m so pleased with the goals he’s scored lately,” Frank explained.
The Bristol City encounter marks the beginning of an arduous schedule for promotion hopefuls Brentford and they will play eight times over the next month. As per usual with Frank though, the focus is on the job at hand.
“We know we are in a good place but we are very aware that your only as good as your last performance,” he said. He added: “We need to do everything we can to make sure we are bang up there with a top performance and hopefully can continue this good run of form.”
Tune in to see if Brentford can indeed continue their stunning run of form tomorrow night v Bristol City at 7:45pm, live on Sky Sports Football.