Brentford are looking to bounce back from defeat on the road against Brighton and Hove Albion as they travel to Sheffield United this weekend with the festive period of fixtures beginning to hot up.
Mid-week goal scorer, Bryan Mbeumo, who added to his tally of 11 goal contributions in 15 Premier League games this campaign, limped off during the Bees’ 2-1 defeat on the coast on Wednesday night and won’t feature at Bramall Lane.
“It is bad,” Frank confirmed when asked about Mbeumo’s injury. “He will definitely not play on Saturday, and he will be out for weeks. We will know more in the next couple of days.”
Frank addressed the hole that Mbeumo leaves, with the Cameroonian forward facing a race against time to be fit for the African Cup of Nations starting in the new year.
“Yes, but it was also hard to replace [Ivan] Toney, but we normally find a way. That’s football and it happens sometimes. We will find a solution. There are other players who can step up.
“Football is such a marginal game. Hit the post, inside the post, outside the post, deflections – there are so many things you can’t control like injuries.
“We need to do everything we can to recover well and there is also some bad luck in it. Bryan is just bad luck. He gets caught and rolls his ankle. Very frustrating of course but I am a positive guy.”
The 24-year-old adds to Brentford’s piling injury woes, with Kristoffer Ajer, Nathan Collins, Rico Henry, Kevin Schade and Aaron Hickey all still side-lined.
Neal Maupay will be called into action and Yoane Wissa will hope to regain his early-season form as the Bees’ search for goals becomes more challenging once again.
Frank added: “The positive news is that [Mikkel] Damsgaard got minutes [against Brighton] and is looking better and better.
“[Mathias] Jensen will be a decision I will make in the next 24 hours. It’s whether I want to push him to be ready or be a little more cautious and have him ready for Villa. I will assess him in the next 24 hours.”
Christian Norgaard has also served his ban so can return to the squad for Saturday.
Frank’s side only have four more league games before Toney returns from his ban, with three of them against teams currently below them.
Paul Heckingbottom’s dismissal earlier this week adds a new layer of uncertainty to Saturday’s fixture and poses a curious problem to Thomas Frank.
Chris Wilder returned to the role on Tuesday, after a two-year stint away from the Blades. While the jury may well still be out on whether it is ok to ‘come back’, Frank was absolute in his praise for the veteran manager.
“I admire Chris Wilder a lot. What he did last time he was there was very impressive, earning two promotions and overall having a fantastic first season in Premier League.”
Sheffield United, despite remaining rock-bottom were much improved mid-week and at stages gave second placed Liverpool a difficult time at Bramall Lane, displaying the resilience the side has desperately been searching for this season.
“I know they will be on it,” Frank said when asked about his expectations for the away trip up north. “They will come flying at us, and when the fan’s start going, it becomes an even tougher ground to go to.”
A point at Bramall Lane would see Brentford leapfrog West London rivals Chelsea into the top half of the table.