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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Sunday, April 1st 2018

Big Match Preview: Brentford home

City 's Easter weekend concludes with a home tie against Dean Smith's Brentford tomorrow (April 2nd, 3pm kick-off).

Both sides drew in their respective Good Friday matches in the Sky Bet Championship, as Sheffield United held the Bees to a 1-1 scoreline, while City had to show fighting spirit to earn their 2-2 draw in Barnsley.

In fact that was the scoreline when Brentford hosted City back in August.

But Lee Johnson's side have more to play for now and will be aiming for all three points back on home soil.

FACTFILE

Formed: 1889
Nickname: Bees
Website: www.brentfordfc.com
Twitter: @BrentfordFC
Ground: Griffin Park
Capacity: 12,573

Honours
Second Division 1934/35
Division Three 1932/33 (south), 1991/92
Division Four 1962/63, 1998/99, 2008/09

Last season
League finish: 10th in Championship
FA Cup: Fourth round, lost to Chelsea
EFL Cup: First round, lost to Exeter City
Top scorer: Lasse Vibe, 15 goals
Player of the Year: Harlee Dean
Average attendance: 10,467

HOW DID THEY GET HERE?

Brentford are lingering around mid-table in the Sky Bet Championship – their fourth consecutive year in the division – as the season’s end draws closer.

The 2017/18 campaign didn’t get off to the dream start Bees fans would have liked, beaten 1-0 at newly-promoted Sheffield United on the opening day and losing a seven-goal thriller against Nottingham Forest as part of an eight-game winless run

They picked themselves up thanks to a nine-game stretch without league defeat, but headed into the Easter weekend having won just three games from a possible 13 since the New Year.

The West London club certainly don’t boast the highest budget in the division, but under Dean Smith they have secured the services of some excellent players before selling them on for huge profit – the biggest being Andre Gray’s £9m switch to Burnley.

Dean Smith has been in charge at Griffin Park since 2015

MEET THE GAFFER: DEAN SMITH

During his playing career, Smith made more than 550 appearances as a centre-back for Walsall, Hereford United, Leyton Orient, Sheffield Wednesday and Port Vale.

His first coaching job came at Leyton Orient, before he was poached by Walsall in 2009. Two years later he was appointed the Saddlers’ first team manager and recruited former club captain – and Bristol City’s current assistant head coach – Dean Holden to join his team.

Smith guided the Saddlers to their first visit to Wembley Stadium when they reached the Football League Trophy Final in 2015, only to suffer a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Steve Cotterill’s Bristol City.

In November 2015, Smith and assistant Richard O’Kelly – himself a former City assistant coach under Sean O’Driscoll – took charge at Griffin Park guiding the club to ninth and tenth in their two seasons in charge to date.

STAR MAN: OLLIE WATKINS

Newton Abbott-born Watkins plied his footballing trade in the South West with Weston-super-Mare and Exeter City before his move west to the capital.

Brentford’s top scorer this season, wide-man Watkins has been named Man of the Match a whopping eight times this season and will be one to watch this afternoon, as he was in the reverse fixture when the 22 year old scored during the 2-2 draw at Griffin Park.

Gary Johnson enjoyed a winning start at Griffin Park

MEMORABLE MEETING: 2005/06

BRENTFORD 2-3 BRISTOL CITY
Brooker 66, Sodje 80; Stewart 12, Wilkshire 40, Brooker 74.

Gary Johnson's reign as Bristol City manager got off to a flier as the Robins inflicted Brentford's first home defeat of the season.

Marcus Stewart put City ahead and Luke Wilkshire's free-kick doubled the lead before Paul Brooker's strike gave Brentford a route back into the game.

Steve Brooker restored City's two-goal lead before Wilkshire missed a penalty.

Sam Sodje's header renewed Bees hopes but Bristol City held on for their first away win of the season.

Brentford: Nelson, Osborne, Sodje, Turner, Tillen, Rankin (Campbell 45), Lewis, Pratley (Rhodes 81), Tabb, Owusu (Brooker 45), Gayle. Subs Not Used: Fitzgerald, Bankole.

Bristol City: Phillips, Orr, Heywood, Partridge, Woodman, Cotterill (Murray 90), Wilkshire, Skuse, Brown, Stewart (Brooker 67), Madjo (Keogh 86). Subs Not Used: Bridges, Burch.

Attendance: 6,413.

AND FINALLY...

Officials
Referee: Keith Stroud
Assistant Referees: Mark Pottage and John Flynn
Fourth Official: Brendan Malone

Betting (via Sky Bet) - Odds correct at time of writing.
Bristol City 2/1
Draw 12/5
Brentford 13/10

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