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History beckons for Brentford as they face Swansea in FA Cup Fifth Round

Thomas Frank insists that he feels a great sense of history as Brentford prepare to face Swansea in the FA Cup Fifth Round on Sunday.

The all-Championship tie presents the Bees with a realistic chance of progressing to their first quarter-final in the competition since 1989, when a brace from Peter Beardsley as well as goals from John Barnes and Steve McMahon helped Liverpool to a 4-0 win at Anfield.

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Frank said: “There is a massive sense of history and I know that all of us want to make some new history for the club.

“It would mean a lot to not only me but to staff, the club and the fans. I try not to think about it in my daily work, but when you get closer you start to think; ‘ok this would be nice.'”

Frank is in no mood to shy away from the opportunity he believes his side is faced with. Only seven Premier League sides made it to the Fifth Round draw, with another guaranteed to fall when Manchester United take on Chelsea.

Frank claimed: “I asked the players how many of them had played in an FA Cup quarter-final before and it was just one (Josh McEachran, Wigan 2014) and how many of them had played in a final, which again was only one (Henrik Dalsgaard, AaB 2014 and Zulte Waregem 2017). So this gives us motivation.”

Frank’s team selections have been consistently strong in the earlier rounds as they beat Oxford United as well as Barnet after a replay and this is something Frank is certain to do again as he promised his side will go all in.

He could hardly ask for better preparation as Brentford come into the game on the back of a run of just one defeat in their last 12 matches, compared to one win in Frank’s first 10 matches.

Frank said: “We are in a very good place, it is very pleasing. It was important we worked hard to get through the tough spell and now we have turned it around.”

The Brentford boss will be hoping this improvement will see his side make a better start against the Swans than in the league game in December, when they found themselves 3-0 down within 27 minutes; before going on to lose 3-2.

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The latest boost came on Wednesday night when Neal Maupay’s 91st minute winner saw Frank earn bragging rights over his former boss Dean Smith’s Aston Villa.

Frank refused to be drawn on the specific importance of beating close friend Smith, insisting that: “It was exciting, but it was far more important to bounce back from our defeat against Nottingham Forest than get one over on Dean Smith.

“Aston Villa are a big club so it was a good win. I have been in regular contact with Dean and Richard [O’Kelly] so it was good to see them, you wish them success but of course you want to win yourself.”

The only rivalry he was keen to be drawn on was a potential Scandinavian showdown with Ole Gunnar Solskjær in the next round, though he admitted: “We work by taking each game at a time, but we fully understand the importance of this game.

“The FA Cup is the is the greatest cup tournament in the history of the world and maybe after Sunday we can dream even bigger.”

Feature photograph/ Divyang Patel

Benjamin Jones
Ben, 21, is a reporter for the Sports Gazette as well as studying for his MA in Sports Journalism and NTCJ diploma. He graduated from the University of Southampton with a degree in History but always knew sport was where his true calling lay. A fan of many sports: Football, Cricket, Formula 1 and Boxing. He gained experience in the industry with The Football Forecast. Rising through the ranks from writer all the way to Site Manager; with his proudest achievement getting the site affiliated with the NewsNow network. He has since moved on to become Site Manager of a new media site called Half Time Cuppa. He is an avid Peterborough United fan but also with a love of Non-League football. It is here he gained hands-on experience with Poole Town in the National League South; spending last season as their match-day commentator as well as match-report writer and Twitter updates.
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