Huddersfield are another Championship team under new management after appointing David Wagner as their boss during the last international break.
The 44-year-old, who was reserve team coach at Borussia Dortmund during Jurgen Klopp’s time as manager at the German club, replaced Chris Powell in the hot-seat.
Powell was sacked the day after a 2-2 draw at Reading which left the Terriers in 18th place – five points clear of the relegation zone and with only three wins from their first 15 games.
The former Charlton player and manager had been in charge at Huddersfield for 15 months.
Town lost the first game after his departure 3-0 to Leeds – and under Wagner so far their form has continued to fluctuate with two wins and three defeats from his opening five games.
They lost the first two matches under his leadership – 3-1 at Sheffield Wednesday and 2-0 at home to Middlesbrough before finally picking up three points with a 2-0 win at Birmingham.
Last Saturday they lost 2-1 at home to Bristol City before bouncing back on Tuesday to beat Rotherham 2-0 and stay 19th in the table – three points above the bottom three.
Their other victories this season came with back-to-back successes in mid-September – 2-1 at Powell’s old club Charlton and 4-1 against Bolton – before they beat MK Dons 2-0 in mid-October.
Huddersfield are in their fourth consecutive season in the Championship and each one has been a struggle, with a highest finishing place of 16th.
Before that, they had spent 11 years in the bottom two divisions – with all but one of those seasons at League One level.
WE’VE MET BEFORE
Without wanting to put the mockers on the chances of excitement on Saturday – there is rarely a dull game between Brentford and Huddersfield.
The last five meetings have produced 25 goals starting with a 4-4 draw in Yorkshire on the last day of the 2010/11 season.
They did the double over us on their way to promotion the following campaign – following a 4-0 win at Griffin Park in October, with a televised 3-2 victory in the return the following January.
That was our last meeting until almost exactly a year ago when we lost our first second tier meeting for more than 72 years 2-1 at the John Smith’s Stadium with Jonathan Douglas replying to a Sean Scannell effort and an own goal from Jake Bidwell.
The return game did go our way however, as we romped to a 4-1 Tuesday night win in March with two goals from Chris Long on a rare start added to by late strikes from Alex Pritchard and Jon Toral with Harry Bunn having equalised for Town midway through the first half – before taking it upon himself to mock, with team-mate James Vaughan – the fans in the Ealing Rd terrace.
We have also met in two play-off semi-finals with each side going through once.
Probably the most heartbreaking experience in Brentford history, before the Doncaster penalty, came when we were beaten on penalties at Griffin Park in 1994/95 after the sides finished 2-2 on aggregate, in a season where we had finished second but not gone up and Huddersfield had come fifth.
But we gained revenge in 2001/02 when we won the home leg 2-1 after a goalless draw away to progress to yet another play-off final defeat….
As already mentioned, David Wagner is the man charged with firstly pulling away from the bottom of the league and then bringing top flight football back to the club for the first time since 1972.
Wagner worked with Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund where he took charge of Dortmund’s second team in the summer of 2011.
He played for a series of clubs in Germany during his career but also with the USA national side because of his American father.
The new head coach’s impact on the team has been hailed by defender Jonathan Hogg.
He told the club website: “We’re getting his ideas now on the style he wants us to play. It’s good because you get a lot of the ball and when you lose it up the field, the team is tasked with getting it back within five or six seconds.
“It’s totally different to what I’ve been used to – he’s changed everything from the time of training to double sessions twice a week and being in on Sundays. But he has certainly put his points across over five or six weeks now and I think we’re gradually getting there.”
Huddersfield boss David Wagner could well make some changes on Saturday, despite his side beating Rotherham 2-1 on Tuesday night.
Wagner made two alterations for that match, only two enforced by injury, and he told the Huddersfield Examiner: “I like rotation, but not for the sake of it. It only makes sense when everyone is in form.
“We needed to be fresh for the Rotherham game and the same applies to the Brentford match.
“Winning doesn’t mean the team will stay the same. We will see how the players recover and who is fit by Saturday.
“We have a busy spell and we have to make sure the squad is as fresh as possible.”
The Examiner has also done an interesting stats-based preview of the game, which reveals among other things that both sides have won around 73% of their tackles this season.
Harry Bunn, who as mentioned earlier scored at Griffin Park last season, said Tuesday’s defeat of Rotherham was important after the defeat to Bristol City and told the Examiner: “We needed to bounce back with a win on Tuesday and to get the clean sheet was another plus.
“Now we need to go to Brentford and try to take up where we left off. We have to start with a good tempo, like we did against Rotherham, and defend strongly for the 90 minutes.
“We are creating chances every game, but we need to stick more of them away.”
Huddersfield have used 28 players in the Championship so far this season but have no ever-presents.
Midfielder Dean Whitehead is top starter with 18 but, like goalkeeper Joe Murphy, is out of Saturday’s game because of injury, while striker Nahki Wells has been involved in 20 of their 21 league games – starting 16 of them.
Former Bradford striker Wells is also the Terriers’ top scorer with five goals while midfielder Emyr Huws, who, along with defender Martin Cranie, missed Tuesday’s win over Rotherham because of injury, has four.
Defenders Mark Hudson and Joel Lynch have also been chosen in the starting XI 16 times as have strikers Harry Bunn and Sean Scannell.
Central defender Elliott Ward is recovering from an injury but it is not known if the match is too early for him to make his comeback.
Drinking in Brentford
For Terriers fans coming down, you are probably aware there are plenty of pub options pre-match and all are most welcoming. Colours are fine and there is no ‘bouncer culture’ on the doors of our boozers – not yet anyway. All fans are welcome and most fans usually cite Brentford as their favourite away-day which we’re quite proud of.
As is etched in common folklore , there were four pubs around the ground until a few weeks ago – unfortunately one closed down to leave only three now. The Griffin is closest to the away end (like 30 secs walk) and is very popular with away fans – but also very very busy. The New Inn is on the other side is also popular with away fans. The Princess Royal is the other option (The Royal Oak was the one that closed down).
Other pubs slightly further afield for the more creative amongst you include (and this is by no means a definitive list) the … The Globe (Windmill Rd) is the Beesotted fanzine main pub – a very friendly pub indeed. The other boozer is The Lord Nelson (Enfield Rd) – both incredibly friendly and cosy away-friendly pubs and 30 seconds walk from each other .. frequented by ‘away fans in the know’. Boro fans and Bees fans had one hell of a party before and after the match in both these boozers (despite us losing)- and The Plough (Northfields Ave – 1 minute walk from the tube) in Northfields is a decent stop-off if you are coming by tube to Northfields before making your way down to the ground (normally stopping off at The Globe and Lord Nelson en route on the Northfields pub crawl).
Easily the best way to Brentford is to get the Piccadilly Line from King’s Cross to either Northfields or South Ealing (35 mins).
Northfields is preferred by fans in the know as it has a decent pub crawl run on the way to the ground (Plough, Lord Nelson, Globe). South Ealing has one posh pub en route that doesn’t really like football fans so we won’t even give it a mention here. It’s 20 mins walk from either South Ealing OR Northfields to the ground or you can get the E2 bus from Northfields or 65 bus from South Ealing for the five-minute journey.
Some fans prefer to take the tube to Vauxhall, then get the overground to Brentford mainline station. Depending on your connection time, this could be a slightly longer route as you could be waiting for up to 15 minutes for a train and the train takes 26 mins to Brentford. Including your connection from King’s Cross this journey could take you the best part of an hour as opposed to under 40 minutes (plus the journey to the ground).
If you do take this route, there is also a pub right by Brentford station always referred to as … er … the Pub by Brentford station.
For ale head to the Magpie and Crown pub on Brentford High Street. The Royal Horseguardsman can probably hold 15 of you at a push. The Brewery Tap is a cosy boozer by the river. And if you are super adventurous, get off at Kew Bridge and visit the brand new boozer One Over the Ait right on the river – beside the bridge. Great views over The Thames. It’s around 15 minutes walk to the ground from here.
There are loads more too. A quick Google search and you’ll find them all. There are many many more too if you have a look around.
Parking is pretty easy away from the ground going up towards and over the A4 Great West Road (ie. North) via Ealing Road or Windmill Road.