Nottingham Forest arrive in Brentford for their first-ever top-flight away game with us on Saturday, and first visit to the Gtech with fans, fighting for their Premier League lives.
Their surprise 3-1 win over Brighton on Wednesday ended a run of 11 winless league matches and took them out of the relegation zone. They now sit in 17th, a point ahead of Leicester, two ahead of Everton and four clear of Southampton with each side having five games to play.
When Forest beat Leeds at the start of February, they were 13th in the table and six points clear of the bottom three, but that sequence of matches without a win is what has put them back in trouble.
Their away form has also been a major issue this season.
While they have the 12th best home record in the Premier League – with six wins (four of them 1-0), six draws and five defeats meaning they have taken 24 points at the City Ground – they have the division’s worst away record with one win (at Southampton), three draws and 12 defeats on their travels. They have also only scored seven away goals, with two of those coming at Anfield last Saturday, and conceded 39.
They did have a cup run to distract them at least, reaching the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup, where they lost 5-0 on aggregate to eventual winners Manchester United. In the FA Cup, they bowed out 4-1 at Championship Blackpool in round three.
Much was made of Forest’s massive influx of players over the summer and January transfer windows. So far, 33 players have made at least one Premier League appearance for them this season, compared with 25 for us.
Forest won promotion by beating Huddersfield in the Championship play-off final last May to end 14 consecutive seasons in the second tier.
This is their first season in the Premier League since 1999, even though they were one of the competition’s founder members.
They won the old First Division title once, in 1977/78, the same season we won promotion from Division Four.
WHO’S IN CHARGE
Steve Cooper took charge of Forest in September 2021 to replace ex-Bee Chris Hughton.
He was their 14th managerial appointment in 10 years since Billy Davies left in the summer of 2011.
Cooper had been in charge of Swansea, taking them to the Championship play-offs in successive seasons, but losing to us each time – first in the semi-finals and then in the final at Wembley.
He made it a hat-trick of play-off appearances, this time being successful in winning promotion, with Forest.
Swansea was Cooper’s first managerial club job, but he was previously in charge of the England under-17s side, helping them win the World Cup for the first time in 2017. He also led them to the European Championship semi-finals a year later.
He spent his playing career in Welsh football with The New Saints, Rhyl, Bangor City and Porthmadog before moving into coaching and becoming the head of youth at Wrexham. From there, he moved to Liverpool’s academy, becoming its manager in 2011, before joining the FA’s youth set-up. He ran the under-16 team, before moving on to the under-17s.
WE’VE MET BEFORE
Brentford earned a 2-2 draw at the City Ground in November in a see-saw match in which we fell behind, took the lead and then conceded a last-gasp equaliser.
Morgan Gibbs-White put Forest ahead in the 20th minute but, in the absence of Ivan Toney, Bryan Mbeumo equalised from a penalty in first-half stoppage-time after Dean Henderson brought down Yoane Wissa.
Wissa put us ahead for the first time in the 75th minute as he ran through and chipped Henderson, but an own goal off Zanka in the sixth minute of second-half stoppage-time rescued a point for the hosts and denied us a first Premier League away win of the season.
Nottingham Forest are one of only four teams we met in every season of our Championship stay. (Birmingham, Derby and Sheffield Wednesday are the others).
We had the upper hand for the first four campaigns with six wins, one draw (our first meeting) and one defeat from our eight meetings, but after that, Forest hit back with three wins compared to our two.
Championship meetings (Bees scores first):
2014/15 – (H) 2-2 (A) 3-1
2015/16 – (H) 2-1 (A) 3-0
2016/17 – (H) 1-0 (A) 3-2
2017/18 – (H) 3-4 (A) 1-0
2018/19 – (H) 2-1 (A) 1-2
2019/20 – (H) 0-1 (A) 0-1
2020/21 – (H) 1-1 (A) 3-1
Brentford earned our first home win over Forest for 66 years in November 2015, thanks to a dramatic late, late goal from Philip Hofmann, after fellow substitute Sergi Canos had put us ahead. Harlee Dean was sent off and Henri Lansbury equalised for Forest before Hofmann stole the headlines to give us a 2-1 victory.
Brentford completed our first double over Forest since the 1948/49 season when we won 3-0 at the City Ground at the start of April. Inspired by another international break, second half goals from Lasse Vibe, Nico Yennaris and Canos again secured a victory which many fans said was one of their highlights of the season – simply because it seemed to banish any fears of relegation.
It sparked our move away from the lower reaches of the table and a run of six wins in eight games in the month.
Last time we met in the Championship, Brentford earned a 3-1 win at the City Ground in mid-December behind closed doors, to stretch our unbeaten run to 11 games.
Henrik Dalsgaard headed the opener from a Mathias Jensen corner and after the break, Josh Dasilva doubled the lead with a trademark left-foot curling shot after a Sergi Canos pass.
Ivan Toney made it safe when he slid home Vitaly Janelt’s lofted pass for his 15th goal of the season, before Joe Worrall headed a late consolation and Anthony Knockaert was sent off for a second yellow card.
The home return in March was still played without fans and finished 1-1.
Ivan Toney put us ahead early on from the penalty spot with his 28th league goal of the season, but Filip Krovinovic equalised midway through the second half.
The result left us fourth in the table, a point behind Swansea and seven adrift of second-placed Watford, while Forest moved up to 15th – seven points clear of the bottom three.
HOW TO FOLLOW THE GAME IF YOU CAN’T BE THERE
If you can’t get to the Gtech Community Stadium for Saturday’s sold-out 3.00pm kick-off and want Brentford commentary, audio coverage is available via the new Buzz Box, currently on a free trial.
Coverage starts half an hour before kick-off and is advert-free, with Mark Burridge and Kirsty Matthews from the Brentford women’s team.
There is also live commentary on BBC 5 Live.
PUBS IN BRENTFORD AND TRAVEL NEWS
For Forest fans coming to the Gtech Community Stadium for the first time, there are plenty of pub options pre and post-match and all are most welcoming and away-fan-friendly (as it should be).
The pub areas are split into two zones. There is the area around Brentford’s old Griffin Park stadium. The pubs there are still very busy on match day frequented by Bees locals before heading down the road to the stadium at Kew Bridge which is only 15 mins walk.
Then there is the area in and around the stadium in Kew Bridge.
It is possible, if you have a good early start, to savour a few pubs in and around Griffin Park and Brentford zone before heading off to the pubs in the Kew zone or even vice versa if you so fancy.
Pubs in Griffin Park/Brentford zone
When at Griffin Park, Brentford was well known for its four pubs – one on each corner of the ground. Three are still operating.
The Griffin is closest to the old away end and has always been very popular with both home and away fans and has its regulars who still make the journey down to the new stadium from there on matchday. The New Inn is on the other side which used to also be popular with away fans before the move. The Brook pub is the other option if you want to savour a pub in and around what is left of our old home. Worth a peep if you want to reminisce about old Brentford.
About five minutes’ walk away from the old ground are two pubs which are enormously popular. The Globe (Windmill Rd) is a “lively but comfortable” pub on matchday. Incredibly friendly and cosy, it has always been popular with a selection of away fans who fancied having a beer a few minutes further walk away from the ground without having to queue six persons deep. After the move to the new ground, The Globe has retained many of lot its regulars from the Griffin Park days and with screens throughout the pub and in its sheltered beer garden, it shows both Premier League and EFL football before and after each match.
Meanwhile around the corner, The Lord Nelson (Enfield Rd) is another incredibly friendly and cosy away-friendly pubs about one minute walk from The Globe. Again with a TV screen for live sports and a lovely beer garden, this is another pub frequented by “away fans in the know”.
The other pub worth checking out in the Griffin Park region is The Black Dog Beer House, formerly The Albany, on Albany Road, if you like your real ales.
There are plenty of other pubs in and around Brentford High Street including real ale pub Magpie and Crown (Brentford High Street) and the cosy Brewery Tap (Catherine Wheel Road) near the river.
For a Griffin Park area pub crawl before heading over to Kew we recommend the following: Take the Piccadilly line to Northfields station. Turn left and walk for 2 mins and you will come to The Plough (Northfields Ave). Then walk to The Lord Nelson (10 min walk from The Plough) & then The Globe (1 min walk from The Nelson) en-route before hitting The Griffin (8 min walk from The Globe) and then The Black Dog (2 mins from The Griffin). You can also try and do the other three pubs on the corner whilst down here if you fancy.
Then you can then either walk (15 minutes from The Globe/The Nelson and The Griffin/Black Dog ) or take a train from Brentford station (which is five minutes walk away from both The Globe/The Nelson and The Griffin/Black Dog) or a bus (237/267) to Kew Bridge.
Trains run at 24 and 54 minutes past the hour to Kew Bridge from Brentford and take 2 mins.
Pubs in the Kew Bridge zone
Right next to Kew Bridge station, you will find the Express Tavern – an ale pub with a retro feel. The pub has been refurbished in readiness for the new football season and needless to say, is popular before the match due to its close proximity to the stadium.
Across the road by the river is One Over the Ait – a spacious boozer right next to Kew Bridge. This pub is situated on the location of the now-demolished Oxford & Cambridge pub where Brentford Football Club was founded in 1889.
Across Kew Bridge and the River Thames, there are two pubs on Kew Green – the Cricketers and the Greyhound – very close to the pier where Brentford fans have embarked on their away journeys by water to F*lham, Orient, Charlton, West Ham and even Southend.
North of the river along hoity-toity Strand on the Green, you will find The Steam Packet, in an old Cafe Rouge, and The Bell. A bit further down are The City Barge and the Bulls Head – two pubs side-by-side in which you would often see Ant and Dec hanging out.
There is also The Pilot which you can get to coming out of the BACK entrance of Gunnersbury station and we believe the old John Bull pub at the front of the station has been refurbed as The Gunnersbury but we have never been there so can’t give it a 👍🏾or a 👎🏻
Transport to Brentford and Kew Bridge
The simplest on paper to get to Brentford FC from town is to get the tube to Waterloo (Northern, Jubilee lines) or Vauxhall (Victoria Line) and then take the Overground train to Kew Bridge, which is right by the stadium. Brentford is one stop further on if you are on an ‘Original Griffin Park Pub’ mission.
With trains from Waterloo being only twice an hour (22 and 52) and taking 28 minutes, we normally recommend people jump on the tube from Kings Cross or Euston and head to Northfields or South Ealing on the Piccadilly Line as it is quicker (including the time getting across London and waiting at Waterloo) and trains are more frequent.
It is only 40 mins max station by tube to station meaning you could be in a Brentford pub within an hour of embarking your train at Kings Cross, Euston or Liverpool Street.
The other station option is Gunnersbury. You can walk to the stadium from Gunnersbury tube station (District line) in 25 minutes or take a bus (H91, 237, 267, 110), but note that it is closed for entry for one hour after the match.
For the Brentford/Griffin Park pubs you can get the Piccadilly line tube to Northfields station from King’s Cross or Euston (35 minutes) then walk down to The Plough, The Globe, The Lord Nelson and The Griffin and other pubs from there.
The new stadium is around 25 minutes’ walk from South Ealing station – if you don’t fancy Gunnersbury – or you can get on the 65 bus from across the road which will drop you almost outside in 15 minutes.
You can also pick up the 65 bus from Ealing Broadway (district and central line) which will take you to the new stadium in 25 minutes.
You can check out Transport for London’s guide to travel on the Tube and Overground.