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When you have just been knocked out of the FA Cup by a team from a lower division, the last thing you want just over 72 hours later is a visit from a side you haven’t beaten in nearly 80 years and who are flying high at the top of your league.

But that is the task facing Brentford on Tuesday night when Middlesbrough come to town.

Aitor Karanka’s side currently lead the Championship by four points from Derby, with a game in hand, are five points clear of third-placed Hull and 13 ahead of Sheffield Wednesday in seventh.

Added to that, they haven’t let in a league goal in a club record 727 minutes, that’s just over eight games, since the 83rd minute of their 3-0 defeat at Hull in early November.

And since resuming relations with Boro last season, we have lost to the Teesside club five times out of five – conceding 13 goals and scoring only two.

However, Middlesbrough have been beaten four times in the league this season and on each occasion they failed to score.

Late in August they lost 1-0 at home to Bristol City and then were beaten in successive October away games at Reading (2-0) and Cardiff (1-0) and then, as already mentioned, at Hull.

And Brentford are likely to recall Lasse Vibe, who of course scored our goal at the Riverside in September, as well as the other regular starters.

Boro also, like us, went out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle on Saturday – in a battle of Griffin Park’s next two visitors as they lost 2-1 at home to Burnley.

This is Middlesbrough’s second successive season as promotion contenders after they finished seven points ahead of us in fourth place and then beat us in the play-off semi-finals before losing to Norwich at Wembley.

Before that, they have rarely looked like regaining their Premier League status since suffering relegation in 2009 with four mid or lower mid-table finishes in five years. The one exception was the 2011/12 season when they finished seventh – but even then they were five points behind sixth-placed Cardiff.


As mentioned earlier, we met Middlesbrough four times last season – twice in the regular season and twice in the play-offs – and have already played at the Riverside this season in a match which ridiculously, like this week’s, was scheduled for a Tuesday night rather than a weekend.

The first game in the 2014/15 quartet was a rare off-day for the Bees as we suffered a 4-0 September hammering.

The lunchtime return at the start of February, live on Sky, saw Boro complete the double over us thanks to a penalty on the stroke of half-time.

So on to the play-offs and despite an equaliser from Andre Gray, his 18th goal of the season, a last-minute goal gave Middlesbrough a 2-1 win and turned the tie in their favour.

The second leg was very disappointing on the pitch as Brentford slipped to a 3-0 defeat but was memorable off it as the Bees fans ignored the impending end of our promotion dreams with non-stop singing for the final 15 minutes in Mark Warburton’s final game in charge.

In September, we lost 3-1 at the Riverside despite being given brief hope by Lasse Vibe’s goal.

Before last season we hadn’t met Middlesbrough in the league at Griffin Park since December 1986, the day the Brook Road stand opened, although we had lost to them in the league cup in 2002.

The last time we beat Middlesbrough in any competition was in an FA Cup third round tie in 1964 when we won 2-1.

Our last league victory over them was way back in December 1938 when we won an old First Division match 2-1.


Aitor Karanka was appointed as Middlesbrough manager in November 2013.

He previously worked as Real Madrid’s assistant manager to Jose Mourinho but left the club in 2013 after the arrival of Carlo Ancelotti and this is the first time he has held the top job at a club.

He spent virtually all of his playing career in Spain with Athletic Bilbao and Real Madrid before ending it with a brief spell playing in the USA for Colorado Rapids.

Karanka, a defender, also won one full cap for Spain and 14 at Under-21 level, and played for his country at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.


Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka left his players in no doubt that any repeat of their performance in Saturday’s FA Cup exit to Burnley would result in the Bees beating them at Griffin Park on Tuesday.

He told his club’s official website: “I told them before the game I wanted to win because I like this competition, but when you make mistakes like we did you don’t win.

“If we play at Brentford in the same way we will lose. We have to learn and play in the way we can because I am very disappointed and don’t like to lose.”

Defender Daniel Ayala said his side were determined to hit back from the defeat.

Also speaking to the club’s website, he said: “That was really disappointing – we want to win every single game. It does matter definitely. We need to go as far as we can in the cups.

“We have a positive mindset and we have to be ourselves again on Tuesday at Brentford.

“We’re happy to be playing quickly and hopefully we can pick up the three points.

“We’re disappointed but we move on.”

Pre-Match Interview with @Twe12thMan Boro


Middlesbrough made seven changes for Saturday’s FA Cup tie, but could revert to the line-up which was unchanged for their previous three league games.

Among those likely to return on Tuesday is goalkeeper Dimi Konstantopoulos, one of two league ever-presents along with midfielder Adam Clayton, who did face Burnley.

England international midfielder Stewart Downing, who re-signed for his first club in the summer after six years away at Aston Villa, Liverpool and West Ham, has also been involved in every league game, one as a playing substitute, and was an unused replacement against the Clarets.

Defenders Daniel Ayala and George Friend have each missed only one Championship match, and also played in the FA Cup.

Other regulars this season have been Ghana international winger Albert Adomah, captain and midfielder Grant Leadbitter, Equatorial Guinea international midfielder Emilio Nsue and striker David Nugent – a summer signing who won a solitary England cap in 2007.

One man who did make a rare start on Saturday was former Brentford midfielder Adam Forshaw, who in the league this season has been in the starting XI once and made 12 appearances as substitute.

Adam, who joined Middlesbrough from Wigan in last January’s transfer window, was at Griffin Park permanently for two seasons after signing from Everton following a loan spell.

He was named League One player of the year in our promotion season of 2013/14 and was a regular in the side during his time with us.



We have compiled a list of pubs to drink in below.

If you missed Brentford Director of Football Phil Gilles talking about Brentford’s transfer window, check below …

For Boro 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 last season’s league match in both these boozers (despite us losing .. hopefully party tables turned this time)- 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. Also worth trying is the Express Tavern at Kew Bridge. A real old skool feeling pub refurbed – right beside Kew Bridge Station (one stop from Brentford on the mainline train station or 10 mins walk from Gunnersbury tube and 10 mins walk from the ground).

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.