Brentford are back in action this Saturday at Griffin Park against Rotherham in a game which will probably prove whether or not we are in a relegation scrap this year.
This season has so far been a haphazard mire of disappointment – arguably the season we were expecting last time when first promoted to the Championship – but the international break has given Lee Carsley and his players the chance to draw the line under two hideous performances against Birmingham and Derby.
Unfortunately the internet has given many supporters the opportunity to wallow in the gloom for two long weeks and we need to draw a line too. Back in the day a fan’s wounds were quicker to heal with some supporters barely remembering the last fixture after a two week gap, let alone the finer details of the performance. Today we are able to pick away at the carcass for days and, like serving up a decaying turkey several days after Christmas, it’s not an entirely healthy pursuit. And I’m very guilty of it too (social media, not the turkey stir fry).
In my opinion the fans have actually been pretty supportive at games so far this year, certainly against Birmingham it was the Griffin Park crowd who were lifting the crowd and not vice versa. And to be honest it eventually becomes hard not to groan when another loose ball gives possession away cheaply several times in quick succession.
But there is a difference between being patient and passionate. And on Saturday we need to make Griffin Park a vibrant cauldron of support from the first whistle. We need to help intimidate our visitors who are also at the wrong end of the table and feeling their way with a new manager (and we beat Redfearn’s Leeds team at Elland Road last season).
In return it’s fair to ask the same of the players. To go toe to toe with our opponents physical approach where necessary. To chase and win the ball and then to keep the bloody thing once we’ve got it. We need our strikers to play with belief and precision, to be ruthless where it counts. To be united as a team. And to be united as a football club.
Carlsey noted after the defeat in Derby that the team lacked physicality, fitness and confidence. Hopefully we will see an improvement in the first two assets through training and the latter will follow. And we can give it an atmosphere in which to grow quickly.
We know we’ve got some valuable assets – some proven, some untested – returning from injury over the coming weeks. And we know that some of the new recruits will start to make their mark as they settle into English football and English life. We will become stronger, but we need to be strong now too.
I’m proud that my team are in the Championship and that we have the ambition to aim higher. I’m hoping that this is a blip and not a trend and that by Saturday night our team will have shown that they have the belief, ability and cojones that Championship players need.
Come on you Reds