Sports Gazette

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

“We could be in a relegation battle. We’ve got to use this as a wake up call” — Brentford’s Chris Mepham discusses Monday’s trip to West Brom

Posted on 30 November 2018 by Darren Barnard

Brentford defender Chris Mepham has stated that the Bees hope to use the 3-2 defeat to Sheffield United as a wake-up call ahead of a tough trip to the Hawthorns on Monday night.

The side are currently 18th in the Championship, but they hover dangerously close to the relegation zone, separated by just four points. It’s something the players are aware of.

Mepham highlighted: “We’re all aware we could be in a relegation battle, we’re four points off the relegation zone, we’ve got to use this as a wake up call.”

The young defender has solidified his place in the side this season, but it hasn’t been plain sailing for Mepham in his sixth year with the club. The Welshman was quick to admit that it’s been tough recently.

“It’s been my hardest period in the game so far, we’ve never had a run like this as a team in the last two years, confidence isn’t high but good teams stick together and that’s what we need to do”

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Alongside a bad run of results for Brentford, the club have also had to cope with the sudden death of their technical director, Robert Rowan at the age of 28.

“It’s been a tough couple of weeks,” Mepham said. “News of Robert’s passing brought the mood down, there’s only one way to pull through it, that’s stick together.”

Things could be about to get worse for the Bees, though. The former Chelsea academy prospect will have a difficult night ahead of him on Monday when his side travel to the West Midlands. Darren Moore’s side are the top scorers in the Championship and have netted an impressive 41 goals so far in this campaign.

Mepham said: “We’ll be playing the best attacking unit in the league, we need to make sure we’re up for it or we’ll be punished.”

Despite their struggles, Mepham has established himself as a first choice central defender alongside Ezri Konsa, which hasn’t gone unnoticed by Thomas Frank, who said he’s a Premier League defender in the making during Tuesday’s post-match press conference.

“It’s nice to hear,” Mepham said about his manager’s praise. “It’d be much nicer to hear after winning but it gives you confidence that the manager has faith in you”

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The 21-year-old’s regularity in the team this season has earned him a call-up by his boyhood hero Ryan Giggs. Mepham has represented his country four times already and unfortunately dropped out of Wales’ recent UEFA Nations League squad prior to the Denmark game due to an injury he sustained in training.

However, the focus is on Brentford’s game on Monday night for the time being.

After conceding eight goals in their last three games, Brentford will have a tough task trying to stop the likes of Dwight Gayle and Jay Rodriguez adding to the 18 goals they have scored already this season.

Featured photograph/Darren Barnard