In case you missed it, Wednesday’s rearranged game with Bristol City was called off on Tuesday because of positive Covid cases in the Brentford camp.
It is the second time the match has been suspended, following its original call-off on 2 January because of Covid symptoms in the Robins squad.
If you want to read it, here is the preview written for Wednesday’s game – hopefully this will be of real use when the match eventually takes place!
Brentford’s postponed game with Bristol City has been rearranged for Wednesday at 7pm.
This preview was written before the original fixture date of 2 January – the introduction has been slightly updated, as has one answer in the City analysis by BBC Bristol’s Richard Hoskin. But the rest of the piece is unchanged from when it was first written in late December.
The match takes the Bees to the halfway stage of the season – meaning we will have played everyone else once.
Bristol City have been consistently inconsistent this season.
New manager Dean Holden got off to the perfect start as they topped the table after winning four and drawing one of their first five games, but they then failed to win any of their next five to tumble out of the top six.
Three back-to-back wins followed, but victories have been harder to come by since then with only three in their next 10 games, along with six defeats, including four losses in their last five matches.
Injuries have played a major part in this, as explained below, but, as the season reaches the halfway stage, they will need another upturn in form to revive their promotion challenge.
The Robins have the eighth best away record in the Championship, with five wins and five defeats from 11 matches, while at Ashton Gate, they have won five, drawn two and lost four.
Their Carabao Cup run ended in the second round when they lost 3-0 to Aston Villa, after a 4-0 win over Northampton.
Since the postponement of the original game with us, they have played once – on Sunday – when they beat Portsmouth 2-1 in the FA Cup third round.
In round four, the weekend after next, they will travel to Millwall with the winners away to either Sheffield United or Plymouth in the fifth round next month.
This is City’s sixth consecutive season in the Championship and 12th in the last 14 years.
City and Brentford are two of seven Championship clubs who have never played in the Premier League, with Luton, Millwall, Preston, Rotherham and Wycombe being the others.
WHO’S IN CHARGE
Dean Holden replaced the long-serving Lee Johnson in the hotseat, initially on an interim basis in July before being made permanent a month later.
Holden, previously Johnson’s assistant, has signed a rolling 12-month contract at Ashton Gate.
It is his second managerial job, following a short spell in charge of Oldham in 2015.
During a 17-year career as a right-back, Holden played for Bolton, Oldham, Peterborough, Falkirk. Shrewsbiry, Chesterfield, Rochdale and Walsall.
Johnson had been the Championship’s longest-serving boss, having been in charge for nearly four-and-a-half years when he was sacked.
WE’VE MET BEFORE
Brentford have a superb record against Bristol City in the Championship, with five wins, four draws and only one defeat in our 10 meetings.
After many meetings in League One, we first met in the second tier in 2015/16, with the Bees the season’s first visitors to Ashton Gate – and our 4-2 victory put us third in the fledgling Championship table.
Jonathan Kodjia put the Robins ahead after only two minutes but Alan Judge quickly equalised. Aaron Wilbraham restored City’s lead and they then had Luke Freeman sent off before Derrick Williams turned a Judge effort into his own net to level again.
Second half goals from Andre Gray and Philipp Hofmann sealed the points for us.
The return game was notable for Scott Hogan’s first goal in a Brentford shirt. He came on as a substitute in the 72nd minute and in the 85th minute had a great chance to open his account when he was fouled in the penalty area – however, goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell saved his spot-kick.
Hogan was not to be denied though and in the first minute of injury-time headed in a Jake Bidwell cross to cancel out Lee Tomlin’s first half goal for the visitors and earn the Bees a point as it finished 1-1.
We did the double in 2016/17, starting by winning 1-0 at Ashton Gate a couple of Tuesdays before Christmas with a goal midway through the second half by Maxime Colin.
We completed the double at the start of April with first half goals from Sergi Canos and Lasse Vibe.
The following season (2017/18), on an August Tuesday night, we were denied our first win of the season by a 98th-minute equaliser from Bobby Reid, a goal which earned the Robins a 2-2 draw.
Josh Brownhill gave the visitors a fifth-minute lead, which they held until early in the second half when Ollie Watkins headed his first Bees goal to equalise. Neal Maupay fired us ahead with his first touch after coming on as a 73rd-minute substitute – his second goal in two games – but Reid pounced in a goalmouth scramble to rescue a point for City.
We had had 24 shots to City’s eight but it was not enough for victory, although it did us earn our first point of the campaign in our third match.
Brentford’s dominance was rewarded at Ashton Gate on Easter Monday with a 1-0 win which stopped City moving into the play-off places and kept alive our faint hopes of a top-six finish.
Once again, Neal Maupay came off the bench to hit the winner – coming on with Nico Yennaris in the 74th minute and collecting a pass from the midfielder six minutes later to wrap up the three points from a game in which we had 27 shots to the hosts’ two.
It was our fourth consecutive win at City and ended a four-game winless run in the Championship.
City’s visit in October 2018 was a miserable start at the helm for Thomas Frank as Niclas Eliasson’s 89th-minute goal gave City a 1-0 win.
Chris Mepham was sent off just before the hour mark for his second yellow card as the Bees’ winless Championship run increased to six games.
We stretched our unbeaten run at Ashton Gate to five games on Boxing Day as we picked up a 1-1 draw in the return match,
Eros Pisano headed City into a first-half lead from a corner, but Neal Maupay volleyed home his 15th goal of the season eight minutes into the second half to earn us a point.
We took four points off City last season.
They snatched a point with a late equaliser from Andreas Weimann to earn a 1-1 draw on a Wednesday night at the start of October after Josh Dasilva had put us ahead midway through the first half.
However, the return on New Year’s Day was one-way traffic and one of our best performances of the season as we romped to a 4-0 success.
Bryan Mbeumo gave us a sixth-minute lead before City’s experienced defender Ashley Williams was sent off seven minutes later. Said Benrahma doubled the lead midway through the first half, before Ollie Watkins scored twice in the last 10 minutes to seal the victory.
BBC Radio Bristol sports editor Richard Hoskin explains why Bristol City’s form has been so up and down this season, assesses the impact made by Dean Holden and reports on the form of ex-Bee Dan Bentley.
Q – Bristol City seem to have been very inconsistent in their results this season – what’s going on?
(* This answer contains updates on Alfie Mawson and Famara Diedhiou from when it was first written, following the weekend).
A – In a word – injuries. City’s crippling injury list is into double figures. Liam Walsh, Joe Williams and Nathan Baker are yet to feature this season. Andreas Wiemann and ex-Brentford defender Alfie Mawson both suffered long-term injuries, although Mawson played his first game since October in the Portsmouth FA Cup tie on Sunday.
Callum O’Dowda, Jay Daslilva, Steven Sessegnon, Chris Brunt, Jamie Paterson and Opi Edwards are also on the treatment table.
With Famara Diedhiou carrying an injury, and only completing his first full 90 minutes of the season against Portsmouth – Dean Holden’s options are extremely limited going into the game with Brentford.
Q – What changes has Dean Holden made since taking over from Lee Johnson as manager?
A – He started the season favouring a 3-5-2 formation, with Andreas Wiemann and Jamie Paterson playing in an attacking midfield. But with so many injuries, he’s had to switch to 4-4-2 and 4-3-3 in recent weeks.
I don’t think Dean Holden has been able to implement his true style on the team yet, due to all the injuries. But he’s very much his own man, despite working under the previous head coach Lee Johnson.
Q – How would you assess the season so far – as expected, better or worse?
A – I think under the circumstances, it’s been a level par season so far. City went into the season pushing for a top six finish, and while they’re still in contention for the play-offs heading into the new year, results have dipped in recent weeks because the starting 11 aren’t getting much of an opportunity to have a breather.
Maybe if City strengthen in January, or some of their loan players are recalled, it’ll give the squad a much needed boost.
Q – How has Dan Bentley been doing this season?
A – He’s been in excellent form. By his own admission, he struggled temporarily during the Championship restart in June and July, but this season there has been very little to fault – with Bentley (who’s sporting an eye-catching multi-coloured goalkeeping strip this season) making a number of key saves.
(Dan Bentley’s shirt will be familiar to Bees fans from the early 90s as Graham Benstead proves here!)
Q – What memories do you have of the sides’ Griffin Park encounters?
A – I always enjoyed visiting Griffin Park, and I feel sorry for those Brentford fans who were unable to say goodbye properly. In recent years City have had to handle a lot of pressure against Brentford in games at Griffin Park, but from memory have hung on and are unbeaten in their last three visits.
Q – Finally can you give me a possible line-up and formation for City please?
A – Dan Bentley in goal. A back four (injuries permitting!) of Jack Hunt, Zak Vyner, Tomas Kalas and Tommy Rowe. Against Luton, Han-Noah Massengo started in the unfamiliar position of left midfield… with Adam Nagy, Tyreeq Bakinson and Antoine Semenyo making up the midfield. Nahki Wells and Chris Martin started up front.
If there are any changes, Dean Holden may give youth a chance, with the likes of Sam Bell, Sam Pearson and Ryley Towler on the bench in recent weeks.
HOW TO FOLLOW THE GAME
The match is being played at the Brentford Community Stadium at 7pm on Wednesday, behind closed doors. Season ticket holders have free access to watch the match on iFollow, and others can buy a match pass for £10.