Huddersfield – the very thought of them coming to Griffin Park brings back the nightmare memory of mine, and many other people’s, worst football experience up to the Doncaster game.
Unbelievably it was 20 years ago this May that the Terriers beat us in a penalty shoot-out in the semi-finals of the play-offs – but that only tells half the story.
Typically in the luck of “old Brentford” – we finished in second place in Division Two (now League One) in the only season when the runners-up failed to win automatic promotion.
Instead we faced fifth-placed Huddersfield and after two 1-1 draws, they triumphed 4-3 in the shoot-out at Griffin Park and went on to win promotion by beating Bristol Rovers 2-1 at Wembley.
Brentford’s recent record against Huddersfield is not good and we haven’t won any of our previous five meetings.
They have won the last three games – 2-1 in December, 3-2 in Yorkshire live on Sky in January 2012 and 4-0 at Griffin Park three months earlier.
The matches were also close together the previous season with a 1-0 defeat in west London on a Tuesday night in March being followed by a remarkable 4-4 draw on the final day of the season.
The last time we beat them was near the end of the 2009/10 season when three late goals, two from Charlie MacDonald, one a penalty, and one from Lewis Grabban, earned us a 3-0 win which damaged the play-off hopes of the Terriers, who also missed a penalty in injury-time.
Huddersfield have spent almost the entire campaign in the bottom half of the Championship table.
With the exception of last Tuesday, when their 3-0 win over Reading took them to a season’s high of 12th, they have not been above 14th place which is where they sit following Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at manager Chris Powell’s former club Charlton.
Their season started in dramatic style when – the day after losing 4-0 at home to Bournemouth on the opening day – they parted company with manager Mark Robins.
Academy manager Mark Lillis took charge for a month before Powell arrived.
Although they have gradually climbed the table, Huddersfield’s results have been inconsistent and they have only twice managed to string back-to-back wins together.
Away from the John Smith’s Stadium, they have won four of their 17 fixtures – 2-1 at Reading in August, 3-1 at Wolves in October, 1-0 at Wigan in January and 3-1 at Millwall in February.
While they beat Blackpool 4-2 at home, they have also shipped a few goals and apart from the Bournemouth result went down 5-0 at Norwich, 4-2 at Watford and 4-1 at home to Wolves.
In fact only Fulham (58) and Blackpool (68) have conceded more than their 56 goals.
The Terriers are in their third consecutive season in the Championship after winning promotion in dramatic style in 2012 by beating Sheffield United 8-7 on penalties following a goalless draw in the League One play-off final.
That ended an 11-year spell in the bottom two divisions – with one of those seasons spent in the bottom tier.
WHO’S THE GAFFER?
Chris Powell is in his second full managerial role, following three years in charge at Charlton and a brief spell as caretaker boss of Leicester.
As mentioned earlier, Powell joined Huddersfield in September on a rolling contract after an impressive spell in charge at The Valley.
While managing the club where he had three spells as a player, Powell led the Addicks into the Championship with their highest-ever points total of 101 in 2012 and then to a ninth-place finish the following season.
He also won promotion into the second tier three times as a player and won five caps for England.
In all he made more than 750 professional appearances as a left-back – with his other clubs being Crystal Palace, Aldershot (loan), Southend, Derby, West Ham, Watford and Leicester.
From 2005 until his retirement as a player, Powell was chairman of the Professional Footballers’ Association.
Huddersfield manager Chris Powell told the club’s official website that their defeat at Charlton on Saturday would make no difference to their plans for the game at Griffin Park.
“Today’s result doesn’t change our approach at Brentford,” he said.
“We’ll have to take stock of the boys and see how they are fitness-wise after the journey home. We’ll plan and prepare as always and approach the game with energy, looking to do ourselves more justice than we did today.”
Powell was doubly disappointed with the defeat at The Valley as it was against his former club and told the Huddersfield Daily Examiner: “Everyone has history and a lot of mine is at Charlton, but I don’t think it affected the players and I took steps to ensure it didn’t.
“To them it was simply another game of football.”
Captain Mark Hudson told the same paper: “There was nobody who can be happy after that performance at Charlton. It’s hard to know why as we have been on a good run and we were desperate to back that up.
“We are back in London again straight away on Tuesday and the Championship gives you that quick turnaround. It’s a chance to put things right.”
HUDDERSFIELD SQUAD NEWS
Huddersfield’s top scorer Nahki Wells missed Saturday’s game at Charlton after injuring his shoulder in the game against Reading last Tuesday.
Centre-half Joel Lynch was also out at the weekend following a groin problem but winger Sean Scannell, who scored against us at the John Smith’s in December, and midfielder Conor Coady, as a substitute, did return after injury.
The Terriers started with close to a 3-5-2 formation at The Valley with Harry Bunn stationed as the link man between the midfield and the front two.
However a double substitution in the 64th minute saw them switch to 4-4-2.
James Vaughan and recent signing Ishmael Miller formed the forward line in the absence of Wells.
Town don’t have any ever-presents this season although midfielder Jacob Butterfield has only missed one of their 34 Championship matches, Conor Coady has started 31 and come on as a substitute twice and goalkeeper Alex