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What a day in prospect at Griffin Park on Saturday.

The possible return of Jota, international clearance permitting, the definite return of Martin Allen and a home FA Cup third round tie for Brentford for the third season running – this time against National League Eastleigh.

The question is can the Bees finally win our first cup tie, without resorting to penalties, in seven attempts since being promoted to the Championship.

Between Allen leaving the club in 2006 and our exit from the bottom two divisions in 2014, we only reached the third round twice in eight seasons – but since getting a free pass to that stage following promotion, we have failed to progress, losing to Brighton and then Walsall.

We have fared little better in the League Cup – with our only victory being on penalties at Dagenham after that ridiculous 6-6 draw.

Back to Saturday and it will be the first time Martin has brought a team to face the Bees since the end of his two-and-a-quarter years in charge in TW8.

Martin is a new arrival at Eastleigh – leaving Barnet to take charge last month after the departure of Ronnie Moore.

His first match in charge was the second round FA Cup tie with Halifax and in five league and FA Cup matches so far he has overseen two wins, two draws and one defeat.

The Spitfires are currently 11th in the National League table, nine points adrift of the play-off zone but comfortably 15 points above the relegation places.

They are a club on the up – having gained promotion from Conference South in 2014 and immediately finishing fourth to reach the play-offs, where they lost 5-1 on aggregate to Grimsby.

Last season they came seventh – missing a second appearance in the play-offs by only five points.


Martin Allen’s return to Griffin Park has been one of the talking points of the tie.

Allen managed Brentford from March 2004 and rescued us from relegation before taking charge for two full seasons in which we reached the play-off semi-finals and FA Cup fifth round each time.

Among his signings were players like Sam Sodje, Deon Burton, Michael Turner and John Salako.

There were plenty of ups but also downs – the sale of DJ Campbell six hours before the end of the 2006 transfer window followed by an injury to Lloyd Owusu playing in a friendly for Ghana arguably costing us automatic promotion for example.

Allen has also managed Barnet – four times – MK Dons, Leicester, Cheltenham, Notts County and Gillingham, winning promotion with the Gills and the north Londoners.

As a player, he made more than 400 senior appearances in midfield for QPR, West Ham, Portsmouth and Southend.

Martin Allen spoke EXCLUSIVELY on The Beesotted Pride of West London podcast this week (below) – and felt that Eastleigh would give Brentford a good game at the weekend, his DJ Campbell Brentford team would beat today’s Scott Hogan Brentford team and he recalled with fondness his memories of managing Brentford in what was – he felt – the most exciting period of his life at the time.


Saturday’s game at Griffin Park will be Eastleigh’s sixth FA Cup tie of the season.

Their campaign started in the fourth qualifying round, where they hammered Southern League Division 1 South & West side North Leigh 6-0 and then donated the match proceeds to their opponents.

Their reward was a televised first round match at home to League One Swindon, which finished 1-1 after Mikael Mandron had given the Spitfires the lead midway through the second half.

In one of the shocks of the round, Eastleigh then travelled to the County Ground and pulled off a 3-1 win in the replay. Jai Reason and Andy Drury put them 2-0 up at half-time and Mandron stretched the lead with a 74th minute penalty before Swindon grabbed a consolation.

It looked as though their run was going to end in the second round when they trailed National League North side FC Halifax 3-1 in the 72nd minute. But Scott Wilson set up a grandstand finish and Mandron earned the replay when he equalised in stoppage time.

The replay was a more straightforward affair with two goals in three minutes just before half-time from Wilson and Mandron, from the penalty spot, enough to beat the Yorkshire side, who suffered a red card late on.

This is the second season in a row in which Eastleigh have reached the third round, with wins over League One Crewe and then Stourbridge earning them a home tie with Championship outfit Bolton 12 months ago.

The Spitfires were three minutes from a famous win in the match before ex-Bee Darren Pratley grabbed a late equaliser for the visitors. Eastleigh took an early lead in the replay and recovered from going 2-1 down to reach the break at 2-2 before Pratley finally ended their hopes.


BBC Radio Solent’s Eastleigh commentator Ian Wilding talks about how far the club has come in a short space of time, Martin Allen’s impact and the record being set by Spitfires fans on Saturday.

Q – What does it mean to the club to be in the third round for the second year in a row?

A – It’s massive for the club’s profile. They were the only non-league representatives in the third round last year so to reach this stage again is the stuff of fairy tales.

It’s easy to forget that Eastleigh have only been in the top flight of non-league football for two-and-a-half years. They were in the Wessex Premier League (ninth tier of English football) in the early noughties so have come a long way. Crowds are also increasing all the time and the runs in the FA Cup will have played a part in that.

Q – How seriously does the club take the Cup compared to the National League?

A – The league’s the main priority. Eastleigh want to be playing Football League clubs every week and not just one or two times a season. But going on a good cup run can do wonders for confidence.

Brentford away is a bonus game though. There’s no pressure on Eastleigh and it’s a nice reward for the fans. Around 1,500 away fans are travelling, which is more than double their record away following. It’s really caught the imagination and should be a great day.

Q – How would you assess Eastleigh’s season so far and how do you see it ending up and why?

A – Below expectations in the league. The chairman Stewart Donald is hugely ambitious and wanted a top three finish at the start of the season. They’re now on to their third manager this season, but Martin Allen will now look to bring some stability to the club.

Their FA Cup run has been tremendous though. Their win at League One Swindon in the first round was probably the best result in the club’s history.

Q – What impact has Martin Allen had since arriving at the club?

A – He’s done well. The team’s been looking organised and solid over the last couple of games and he led Eastleigh to a 2-0 win at Halifax in the second round.

He’s only managed three games in the league and three in the cups so it will be interesting to see where they are in March. He’s taken over a team in mid-table so it will take time, but the season’s far from over.

He’s also brought in six new players (five he knew from his Barnet days) so he’s looking to hit the ground running.

Q – Have you ever been to Brentford before or seen a Bees game and if so what are your memories of it?

A – Brentford is one of the few Championship grounds I’ve not been to. I’ve heard great things about the atmosphere though. It’s a unique old school ground. It’s a shame there are not more around like Brentford’s in the Championship. I’m sure going to grounds like Griffin Park can be intimdating for away sides.

Q – Who should Bees fans look out for particularly on the Eastleigh side?

A – James Constable’s started scoring goals again. He’s got three goals in three and gives everything for the side. He’s scored nearly 50 goals for the club in two-and-a-half years and is the kind of player you want in your side.

Mikael Mandron signed from Sunderland in the summer and he’s another player to look out for. He’s added goals to his game this season with 15.

At the back, Martin Allen’s brought in Hakeem Odoffin on loan from Wolves. He’s only 18 but plays with a great deal of maturity. If he keeps working hard, he’s got a bright future.


Eastleigh have very few options when it comes to team selection with only 15 first team players available for Saturday’s tie.

Goalkeeper Ryan Clarke, defenders Ryan Cresswell and Reda Johnson and midfielder Jason Taylor are all injured while recent signings defenders Bondz N’Gala, Gavin Hoyte and Tyler Garrett, midfielders Sam Togwell and Ross Stearn and ex-Brentford striker Ben Strevens are all cup-tied, while defender Joe Partington is suspended.

Strevens, signed from Dagenham with Sam Saunders, had one season with us in 2009/10 scoring six goals in 20 full and five substitute League One appearances.

The team, which will have plenty of Football League experience, is likely to look something like this in a 4-4-2 formation.

In goal will be either Ryan Huddart (ex-Arsenal) or new player/goalkeeping coach Graham Stack (ex-Arsenal, Reading, Plymouth, Hibernian and Barnet).

The defence is likely to consist of Hakeem Odoffin at right-back, Mike Green (ex-Bristol Rovers and Port Vale) at left-back and on loan Leyton Orient player Connor Essam and Adam Dugdale (ex-Crewe, Tranmere and Morecambe) in central defence.

James Constable (ex-Walsall, Shrewsbury and Oxford) should be on the right of midfield with Scott Wilson (ex-Weston-super-Mare) on the left and Luke Coulson (ex-Cardiff and Oxford) and Jai Reason (ex-Ipswich and Cambridge) patrolling the middle.

Mikael Mandron (ex-Sunderland, Fleetwood, Shrewsbury and Hartlepool), top scorer with 10 league and five FA Cup goals, is likely to play up front alongside Ryan Bird (ex-Portsmouth, Cambridge, Hartlepool and Yeovil).

And as Martin Allen explained in his interview in this week’s Beesotted podcast (link above in this article), he will only be able to name four substitutes.




For Eastleigh fans coming up, 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 for travel this weekend here.