Burton Albion, who meet Brentford for the first-ever time on Saturday are, like the Bees, relative Championship novices.
The Brewers only played their first season in the Conference (now National League) in 2002, but after winning promotion to the Football League in 2009 now find themselves in the second tier of English football.
The club was formed in 1950 and from 1958 moved around between the Southern and Northern Leagues because of their geographic location.
Nigel Clough started his first spell as manager, while he was still a player, in 1998 and Conference status was gained during his time at the club.
Their first three seasons in League Two ended with them finishing in the lower half of the table but they then lost in the play-offs in successive campaigns, in the semi-finals to Bradford and the final to Fleetwood, before winning the title by five points in 2015.
Twelve months later they were promoted again, this time as runners-up to Wigan.
They have held their own so far this season and go into Saturday’s game level on points with the Bees.
Their home form has been crucial with five wins and two draws in their seven matches at the Pirelli Stadium.
However, they are one of two teams in the Championship still searching for their first away win of the season (I’ll say no more!) having drawn five and lost five of their 10 away games.
They have beaten Sheffield Wednesday (3-1), local rivals Derby (1-0) Cardiff (2-0), Birmingham (2-0) and last Saturday Rotherham (1-0).
WHO’S IN CHARGE
Nigel Clough is in his second spell in charge of Burton, the club where he finished his playing career.
In his first spell from 1998 to 2009 he took them from the Southern League to the verge of the Football League – leaving midway through the 2008/09 season with them 13 points clear at the top of the Conference.
He rejoined them in December last year to replace Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who left to join QPR.
In-between he managed Derby, one of the clubs managed by his late father Brian, and Sheffield United.
As a player, he played more than 400 games in all competitions for Nottingham Forest, winning two League Cups in the process, and went on to represent Liverpool and Manchester City before joining the Brewers.
He also won 14 caps for England.
WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT US
Even though Saturday is the first-ever match between the Bees and the Brewers, BBC Radio Derby’s Burton Albion commentator Joe Shennan why he is no stranger to Griffin Park.
Q How would you assess Burton’s season so far and how do you see it ending up and why?
A I think they’ve done well. It really can’t be overstated just how impressive it is for Burton to even be competitive in the division. If they were to survive their first season in the Championship, then in my view it would be an even greater achievement than reaching the second tier in the first place (an opinion shared by several of my colleagues who cover the club regularly).
They will be reliant on their home form and they’ve already learned one or two harsh lessons as to the realities of the division, but they’ve equally surprised some of the bigger sides and will continue to do so as the season goes on. In Nigel Clough, they have a manager who has seen it all at Burton Albion and he’s done an outstanding job so far. Avoiding relegation would represent his biggest success as a boss.
Q Have you ever been to Brentford before or seen a Bees game and if so what are your memories of it?
A I am a former season ticket holder at Wycombe Wanderers and have been to Griffin Park to watch the Chairboys on three occasions. The first time was when Martin Allen was in charge at Brentford and I stood on what was then at least, the away terrace, minus the roof!
My second trip was a huge top of the table clash in 2009 and a 3-3 draw. I was sat on my hands in the directors box for that one! The last trip I made was in the 2011/2012 season when Brentford won 5-2! Former Burton man Gary Alexander scored a hat-trick for the Bees that afternoon.
Q John Mousinho started his league career with the Bees – how important is he to Burton and what role does he play?
A He’s been instrumental on and off the pitch over the last couple of years. Having come to the club ostensibly as a central midfielder (his two Brewers goals to date came very early in his time at the Pirelli) he was converted to a central defender and hasn’t looked back. As an experienced, influential and articulate presence he’s always been a natural club captain.
He lost his place in the side to Kyle McFadzean earlier this season but with the summer signing currently serving a suspension, Mousinho has returned to the side and is determined to show his worth extends to Championship level.
Q Which Bees players you will be most wary of?
A Burton supporters will be wary of Scott Hogan, I’m sure. It’ll also be interesting to see how the likes of Romaine Sawyers, Dan Bentley and John Egan fare, given that they were all players who’ve come up against the Brewers in the lower divisions on previous occasions.
Q Who should Bees fans look out for particularly on the Burton side?
A Australian international Jackson Irvine is in his first season in England, having signed from SPL side Ross County in the summer and his performances have been a delight to watch. He is a big goalscoring threat. Much the same can be said of widemen Lucas Akins, who’s finished top scorer in each of the last two seasons, and the vastly experienced Lloyd Dyer, who’s given Burton a new dimension on the left wing and been ever present so far this season.
In defence, Ben Turner has added second tier nous and goalkeeper Jon McLaughlan has hardly put a foot wrong in over two years at the club – and he’s not got a bad penalty-saving record either. But perhaps the player with most potential is midfielder Matt Palmer, who controls games and sweeps passes with the air of a midfielder who’s been at this level for some time.
Burton reverted to a 3-5-2 formation against Rotherham last weekend.
Striker Jamie Ward returned to the side wearing a protective cast on his arm, after two games out with a fractured wrist, to partner Chris O’Grady up front.
Former Bee John Mousinho, who started his league career at Griffin Park after being recommended to us by Martin Allen’s son, was one of three central defenders with John Brayford and Ben Turner.
Mousinho had three years at Griffin Park playing more than 70 games in defence and midfield – and even in goal once after Clark Masters had been sent off.
Lucas Akins and Lloyd Dyer played at wing back with Jackson Irvine, Matt Palmer and Tom Naylor in central midfield.
Jon McLaughlan, one of three league ever-presents along with Dyer and Palmer, continued in goal.
On the bench were Damien McCrory, Stephen Bywater, Tom Flanagan, Lee Williamson, Hamza Choudhury, Will Miller and Marcus Harness.
Defender Kyle McFadzean serves the final game of a four-match suspension on Saturday while striker Stuart Beavon may be available after minor injuries ruled him out last week.
PUBS IN BRENTFORD
For Burton 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) is the Beesotted pre-match pub. This boozer & The Lord Nelson (Enfield Rd) are both incredibly friendly and cosy away-friendly pubs and about 1 min walk from each other .. frequented by ‘away fans in the know’.
The Plough (Northfields Ave) in Northfields is a decent stop-off if you are coming by tube to Northfields (it’s a much better pub crawl route getting off at Northfields than South Ealing) 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 Road or Windmill Road.
You can check out Transport for London’s guide to travel on the tube and Overground here.