Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

Thomas Frank hoping for Brentford response as Dean Smith returns to Griffin Park

Posted on 13 February 2019 by Robert Sutton

Brentford manager Thomas Frank has called on his Brentford players to give the home supporters a magical night under the Griffin Park lights when Aston Villa come to town this evening.

The Bees have won both home meetings between the two clubs since Villa were relegated from the Premier League in 2016 with the home crowd playing a big part.

“The players are hugely looking forward to having what we hope is going to be a special moment at Griffin Park,” Frank said at Tuesday’s press conference.

“I’m expecting a top performance from the supporters like I am expecting a top performance from the players. If we can link that, it could be a magical night.”

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The Sky Sports cameras will be present in TW8 and they will be focused on the return to Griffin Park of Dean Smith, the man who left Brentford for Aston Villa in October.

Smith is a close friend of Frank and the Dane admits his opposite number will not need to do much scouting ahead of the game.

He said: “Every time you go into a game you try and think of how the other manager is thinking and how can we try and work around that.

“In this case we have a manager who knows everything about us, he knows all the players their weaknesses and strengths. There will be no secrets.”

Frank is hoping his side can bounce back from seeing their ten match unbeaten run ending at Nottingham Forest over the weekend.

“Looking back on the game, it was an average game for us. We gave a silly soft goal away, we had to chase opportunities,” Frank said.

“Second half we gave away three or four big chances and that is not what we are about but we were still very close to getting a point, so it was disappointing.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing us bounce back as we should not have dropped points.”

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Their opponents, last season’s beaten playoff finalists, have had a strange season.

Only top of the table Norwich have scored more goals than Villa’s 56, yet it is the 49 conceded that means Dean Smith’s side are eight points off the playoff places.

Frank knows that his Brentford side are going to have be at their best defensively to stop Villa’s front two, who have contributed 29 of those 56 goals.

He said: “They are an attacking forward going team. They put a lot of crosses into the box, they have scored the most headers in the league and they have big threats up top with Abraham and Kodija.”

Brentford themselves are free scorers. The Bees’ 49 goals is the best of the bottom half and Frank joked that this game could draw TV viewers away from the night’s Champions League fixtures.

“It should be an open game. For the viewer it could be a fantastic match to watch.”

Featured photograph/Rob Sutton