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Beesotted contributor Carl Massey (@TheBFCBeesBlog) ponders life at Brentford once the transfer window has slammed shut.  

With the transfer rumours continuing to fly in from every direction, Brentford find themselves in the slightly unusual position of being linked with a plethora of different players.

Whilst the focus in previous windows has left Bees fans frantically refreshing their news feed to find a snippet of information on what players will be heading out of the door, roles are somewhat reversed at this present time.

Scott Hogan could soon be plying his trade in the Premier League. No Brentford fan wants to lose him and until West Ham stump up the cash he will remain a Bee. That aside, the rest of the squad would appear to be remaining intact. For now at least.

West Ham are certainly not the only team interested in signing the former Rochdale man. Beesotted’s Billy Grant has been chatting to a few sources and it seems as if there is more than just one club interested in securing his services. Have a read of the latest on Scotty Hogan is here.

So perhaps it’s time to take a sneak peak into life post-January. What will life look like without the prolific Hogan? How will Dean Smith integrate the enigmatic Jota back into the squad? Despite the potential loss of a star striker, should we be looking up rather than down?

We discussed this and more in the pre-Newcastle Pride of West London Podcast. We even drafted a Geordie in to discuss the fixtures scandal that has seen our game with Newcastle be moved not once, but twice.

Hogan under the Hammer

As it is not just West Ham that has cast an admiring eye over Hogan, let’s assume for a moment that our front man will go. What can Smith do to ensure goals?

There is an argument that the team dynamic will change. We do not have a like-for-like replacement currently and that is not necessarily a bad thing. Vibe will most likely move more central and take his place as central striker – his most natural role – and with that move we will consequentially see a change in the way we will play.

Hopefully, there will be a new signing or two to ensure that goals do not completely  dry up. But with Sawyers finding his feet, McEachran appearing to find a bit of form, and the aforementioned Spaniel (Jota) back in the side, there are plenty of attacking options to wet the appetite.

It will be genuinely intriguing to see how Vibe fills Hogan’s boots. And whilst some fans have been decidedly undecided on the Danish forward, his preferred position is at the focal point of the attack – a position that he has had little opportunity to showcase his talents in this season.

With his work-rate and pace, Romain Sawyers will be licking his licks at the chance to find him with some of his laser guided passes. Woods, McEachran, and Jota can also pick a pass so all is not lost if and when Hogan swaps Griifin Park for the bright lights of the Premier League.

Few clubs can boast that the loss of a prolific striker has aided the team but with the right recruitment and fresh opportunities being offered to members of the current squad, all may not be lost.

What do with Jota?

Dean Smith will currently – regardless of any player sales – be trying to the find the answer to the Jota dilemma. How does he get the tricky Spaniard into this side.

With Kaikai having returned to Palace, Smith’s hand may have been forced. But Jota will now be expected to nail down a first team spot. Whilst we have all marvelled at Jota’s wing-wizardry, it is not beyond him to play as a second striker.

A deeper midfield trio of Yennaris, Woods and McEachran will provide the base. And with width being provided by Colin and the excellent Tom Field, it will fall on Sawyers and Jota to find the balance in the central attacking areas. It is a mouth watering prospect to consider what those two could do when given the opportunity to link up.

With replacements incoming, it also firms up the options from the bench. Josh Clarke, the soon-to-be-fit Rico Henry and Alan Judge. And with a defensive midfielder due in – and Alan McCormack back from a ban – we may soon have that much needed depth.

Good Vibes

As previously stated, Lasse Vibe must surely be hopeful of taking up Hogan’s place. A goal-scoring outing against Eastleigh will have improved his confidence.

“It was only Eastleigh” I hear you cry. You would be right but with a delectable outside of the boot finish and superb link up play, there were glimpses of what a player he can be.
Vibe scored fourteen goals in a struggling team last season and came off the back of a long period of games after his move from Sweden. He has it in him, no doubt but his finishing has been wayward. He is a man that looks like he hasn’t had games and has lost his edge. He could now get the games that he desperately needs to find his shooting boots again.

Setting the Sights

So with team dynamic changing and the loss of a player who just can’t stop scoring we must surely be looking over our shoulders at the bottom three? Absolutely not.

We all know the players we have been linked with and whilst no deals have been done as of yet what we do know is that the club is active in finding replacements. That means that whilst we are looking for a replacement for Hogan we are also addressing the misgiving that we have all had throughout the past 18 months.

This team is not relegation fodder and needs a bit of light surgery to put us in the top half. Add any additions to the return of the King, players finding form as we have seen and with one or two getting the opportunities they have been waiting for, the time has come for us to look up.

The playoffs may be out of reach at this stage but a strong finish to the season is on the cards. We do however have a tough run of games. With Newcastle, Villa and Chelsea coming up in the next few weeks you could be forgiven for thinking we had made the jump up to the Premier League already.

However, there is no reason we can not pick up points in the league games and moving on I have no doubt that Smith is targeting a strong finish.

As always, it’s never smooth going with Brentford, but the second half of the season could well prove to be an exciting one for us all to enjoy.

Carl Massey