Beesotted contributor and former Brentford FC programme writer Ian Westbrook takes time out from celebrating the 40th birthday of his beloved Ceefax to give us the lowdown on Saturday’s visitors’ Leeds United.
HOW ARE THEY DOING?
Leeds have found form in recent weeks after a shaky start in which they lost three of their first four Championship matches and were knocked out of the Capital One Cup in the first round by near neighbours Bradford City.
Since that defeat, which followed a 4-1 league hammering at Watford, they have put together an unbeaten run of four games.
It started with a 1-0 defeat of Bolton at the end of August and then, after the international break, they have drawn 1-1 at Birmingham, won 3-1 at Bournemouth and last Saturday beat Huddersfield 3-0.
Leeds are in their fifth successive season in the Championship following promotion from League One in 2010.
They were last in the Premier League in the 2003/04 season.
WHO’S THE GAFFER?
Leeds have a new man at the helm after Darko Milanic was appointed as the club’s head coach on Tuesday on a two-year deal.
The 46-year-old left Austrian club Sturm Graz to take up the Elland Road job.
He won five caps for Yugoslavia and 42 for Slovenia, some of them as captain, and previously managed Maribor – leading them to four successive league titles and three cups in Slovenia.
Caretaker manager Neil Redfearn is reverting to his role as Academy manager and head of coaching and on matchdays will work with Milanic, whose assistant will be Novica Nikcevic.
On being appointed, Milanic said: “I want to make some technical changes,” he said. “I like that the fans can have fun but you need to have order on the pitch. The players need to be aggressive and play as a team.”
THEIR LAST VISIT
It is nearly five years since Leeds’ last visit to TW8 in December 2009 and on that occasion they were held to a goalless draw in a League One match.
Leeds arrived here, for their first visit since October 1953. top of the table while we were struggling just above the relegation zone in our first season back at that level following promotion.
Wojciech Szczesny made two good saves from sidefooted efforts by Jermaine Beckford while Luciano Becchio hit the bar with a dipping volley.
At the other end Sam Saunders’ late free-kick was deflected wide and John Bostock volleyed just past the post.
However the game ended in stalemate, which meant Leeds’ lead at the top was cut to two points by second-placed Charlton and we moved up a place to 17th – three points above the relegation zone.
Bees boss Andy Scott said: “Their midfield players are very good players, and everything went through them. We wanted to get about them and stop them playing.”
Brentford: Szczesny, Foster, Dickson, Balkestein, Legge, O’Connor, Bean, Hunt, Bostock (Wood 80), MacDonald, Strevens (Saunders 69). unused subs: Moore, Bennett, Wilson, Cort, Murphy.
MARCH 6, 2010 – LEEDS 1-1 BRENTFORD
Ben Strevens scored his fourth goal of the season as the Bees earned a good point at Elland Road.
Strevens put us ahead on the hour mark when he scrambled the ball home at a corner.
Jermaine Beckford equalised 12 minutes later from a Gary McSheffrey cross.
Sam Wood had earlier missed the chance to put Brentford ahead when he found himself in a one-on-one against Casper Ankergren, but the keeper denied him.
And in the last minute of the 90, Lubomir Michalik rattled a Brentford post.
The Bees dropped three spots to 14th after the match, with Leeds in second, and manager Andy Scott said: “I always had the confidence that we would adapt well and that’s what we did.
“When we came into this league we didn’t know how the young lads would cope, but they’ve come on leaps and bounds.
“It’s very pleasing and it goes to show that we are capable of performing on the big stages.”
Brentford: Szczesny, Phillips (Foster 84), Dickson, Smith, Legge, O’Connor, Wood, Diagouraga, Weston (Bean 80), MacDonald, Strevens (Cort 76). unused subs: Price, Saunders, Hunt, Ainsworth.
No proper Brentford connections in the Leeds squad with the only tenuous link being the presence of midfielder Noel Hunt – younger brother of our former winger Stephen. Jonathon Douglas did play for Leeds though.
Leeds’ top scorer is recent arrival Souleymane Doukara. The striker, who started the campaign on a season-long loan from Italian side Juve Stabia, signed a permanent three-year contract at the end of the transfer window.
He has scored four goals so far this season – two in the Capital One Cup against Accrington and one in each of the last two Championship games.
The prolific former Scunthorpe, Sheffield United and Doncaster striker Billy Sharp is also on the books while former England and Liverpool defender Stephen Warnock provides experience at the back.
DID YOU KNOW?
Leeds won the last-ever old First Division title before the introduction of the Premier League.
They were crowned English champions for the third time in 1991/92, when they finished four points clear of deadly rivals Manchester United.
Pubs in Brentford
For Leeds fans coming down, you are probably aware there plenty of pub options pre-match. There four pubs around the ground. The Griffin is closest to the away end and is very popular with away fans – but also very busy. The New Inn is on the other side is also popular with away fans. The Princess Royal and The Royal Oak (normally home fans only) are the other two options.
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) & The Lord Nelson (Enfield Rd) – both incredibly friendly and cozy away-frienly pubs .. frequented by away fans in the know – and The Plough (Northfields Ave) 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).
For ale head to the Magpie and Stump real ale 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. There are loads more too.
A quick google search and you’ll find them all. There are many many more too if you have an early start (or all evening) …