Bolton have had a disappointing season which has been spent entirely in the bottom half of the table.
The Wanderers, in their third Championship campaign following relegation from the Premier League in 2012, were in relegation trouble early on and manager Dougie Freedman left the club by mutual consent at the start of October.
Neil Lennon was appointed as his replacement later in the month and as so often happens with a change at the top – he sparked a change in the club’s fortunes.
From one win in 10 games under Freedman and one defeat under the caretaker management of goalkeeping coach Lee Turner and player-coach Andy Hughes, Wanderers set off on a run of seven victories in 13 matches up until the end of the year.
Included in that sequence was our 3-1 defeat at the Macron Stadium.
Bolton have lost more games than they have won in 2015 but they are all but mathematically safe from relegation – in fact a win at Griffin Park would guarantee their survival.
They have found goals hard to come by away from home and have only found the net 17 times in their 21 games on the road – the joint fourth lowest total in the division.
The Trotters were an established Premier League side in the last decade and enjoyed an unbroken 11-year spell in the top flight – finishing in the top eight for four seasons in a row.
WHO’S THE GAFFER?
Neil Lennon arrived at Bolton after spending four years as manager of Celtic.
During his time at Celtic Park, he led the Bhoys to three league titles and two Scottish Cups while he also led them to the last 16 of the Champions League.
Lennon also played for Celtic for seven years and had four years at Leicester after being another successful product of the famous academy at Crewe, where he played for six years.
He retired as a player having won five SPL titles, four Scottish Cups and two English League Cups while he was also in the Celtic team that was beaten in the 2003 UEFA Cup final.
The 43-year-old midfielder also won 40 caps for Northern Ireland.
When appointed by Bolton, Lennon said: “I’ve got a big job on my hands but that’s the challenge and I’m very excited about that.”
Saturday will be Bolton’s first visit to Griffin Park for a league game for nearly 24 years.
Their last appearance in TW8 with points at stake came in our Third Division (now League One) title-winning season and we ended up doing the double over them.
The Griffin Park clash took place at the end of September 1991 and saw the Bees come away with a thrilling 3-2 win.
The victory, our fourth in five home games, took us up two places to third in the table – two points behind leaders West Brom and second-placed Birmingham.
Dean Holdsworth, later to play for Bolton, gave us the perfect start when he put us ahead from Wilf Rostron’s free-kick after only 150 seconds and Marcus Gayle doubled the lead before the break from Richard Cadette’s through ball.
Holdsworth reached his half-century of Brentford goals as he made it 3-0 in the 50th minute after efforts from Rostron and Kevin Godfrey had been blocked.
That should have been that but David Reeves pulled one back in the 55th minute and Julian Darby ensured a nervous finish when he scored Bolton’s second five minutes from time.
We won the return fixture on Easter Monday 2-1 – but have not beaten the Trotters in three subsequent meetings.
They knocked us out of the League Cup in 1995/96 – winning 1-0 at Burnden Park and 3-2 in west London – and then won this season’s meeting.
Bolton manager Neil Lennon, speaking before his side lost to Norwich last Saturday, said he was determined to spoil promotion parties for the Canaries, Bournemouth and ourselves in their final fixtures of the season.
He told the Bolton News: “We will be dangerous for the likes of Norwich, Brentford and Bournemouth. We want to put down a marker for what we want to do next season.
“I won’t have us say our season is up – we have got Bournemouth and Brentford to come and we want to spoil some parties. We have our own agenda.”
Speaking before Tuesday’s game with Charlton, assistant manager Johan Mjallby told the club’s website: “We of course want a strong finish, even more so with the way in which we’ve been conceding late goals.”
“We want to give the fans something to shout about. It’s also a chance for the players to show they want to be here come next season.”
Bolton midfielder Darren Pratley spent the whole of the 2005/06 season on loan from Fulham to Brentford.
He was a regular in a midfield which also featured the likes of Jay Tabb, Eddie Hutchinson, Ricky Newman and Paul Brooker among others as the Bees missed out on automatic promotion by three points – and then inevitably lost in the play-offs, on that occasion to Swansea.
Darren started 27 League One matches and came on as a substitute another seven times while he also scored four goals – including a double in a 3-1 win at Scunthorpe.
Darren is hoping to figure on Saturday after being ruled out since the end of January following a hamstring injury.
BOLTON SQUAD NEWS
Bolton have probably the oldest strikeforce in England on their books in Emile Heskey (37) and Eidur Gudjohnsen (36), who both signed in December.
Former England international Heskey had been playing in Australia before returning home and joining Wanderers, while Gudjohnsen is in his second spell at the club and has also regained his place in the Iceland team.
They will be contesting places up front with on loan Cardiff striker Adam Le Fondre, who has scored seven goals in 14 appearances since arriving during the January transfer window.
The Trotters welcomed back centre-half Matt Mills on Tuesday after missing one game with an ankle injury while Rochinha also started in midfield.
Mills has been one of the mainstays of the side this season alongside Tim Ream in central defence while Neil Danns and Liam Feeney have each missed few games in midfield.
Fellow midfielder Mark Davies was among the substitutes again after being out since suffering a knee injury in early November.
Bolton have used a huge number of players this season – with no fewer than 42 having made at least one substitute appearance for them in the Championship.
DID YOU KNOW?
Brentford legend Dean Holdsworth was Bolton’s record signing when he joined them from Wimbledon for £3.5 million in October 1997.
He stayed with the club for nearly six years before rejoining the Dons for the 2003/04 season.
Deano scored 39 league goals in 97 full and 61 substitute appearances for the Trotters.
PUBS IN BRENTFORD
For Bolton fans coming down, you are probably aware there plenty of pub options pre-match and all are most welcoming.
There are now only three pubs around the ground, following the closure of the Royal Oak.
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 and is also popular with away fans. The Princess Royal is the other option.
Other pubs slightly further afield for the more creative amongst you include (and this is by no means a definitive list) …. The Globe (Windmill Rd) & The Lord Nelson (Enfield Rd) – both incredibly friendly and cosy away-friendly pubs .. frequented by ‘away fans in the know’. Boro fans and Bees fans had one hell of a party before and after the match in these boozers (despite us losing)- 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).
There is also a pub right by Brentford station always referred to as … 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. 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 Rd (ie. North) via Ealing Rd or Windmill Rd.