Wolves and Brentford have trodden similar paths in recent years.
Promoted together from League One in 2014, contending for the play-offs together last season – and now sadly together once again as two of the most out-of-form teams in the current Championship form table.
This is the second in a run of three games for the Bees in which we are playing other teams on bad runs with Derby last Saturday, who of course ended their run at GP, and Rotherham to come this weekend.
Kenny Jackett’s side are winless in their last six matches with three draws and three defeats, including two in the final two of those games – 10 days ago at home to Preston (1-2) and then on Saturday at Huddersfield (0-1).
However they had won the four Championship fixtures before this run started and this inconsistency sums up their season.
On only one other occasion during this campaign have they earned back-to-back league victories and that inability to string a run of wins together has left them on 40 points with us and put promotion virtually out of reach.
Wolves, like us, are in their second season in the Championship having pipped us to the League One title in 2014.
Last season, they finished seventh and missed out on the play-offs on goal difference having finished level on points with both the Bees and Ipswich, who did make the end-of-season showdown.
This time around, they have spent most of their time around mid-table.
While there has been unease among our fans in recent weeks, Wolves fans have also not been happy and some expressed their views to the Wolverhampton Express and Star after Saturday’s game.
Wolves have spent all but five of the past 27 seasons in this division. They had four years in the Premier League – three in a row from 2009-2012 – and one in League One, but have been here apart from that.
There should be a familiar face in the Wolves line-up in George Saville, who played an important part in helping us to win promotion to the Championship in 2014.
During a season-long loan spell from Chelsea, the midfielder was involved in 40 of our 46 league games, starting 33 of them.
That summer he left Stamford Bridge to join Wolves permanently, but has only now established himself in the side.
George has been involved in each of their last five games – starting the last three after coming on as a substitute in the previous two – following his return from a loan spell at Millwall.
Last season he was also loaned to Bristol City, but his total number of appearances for all three clubs since his arrival at Molineux 19 months ago is fewer than his total number of games in his one season at Griffin Park.
WE’VE MET BEFORE
Our three meetings in the Championship since promotion have resulted in two wins for Brentford and one for Wolves.
The first, at Griffin Park in November 2014, was one of our best performances of the season as we swept away the visitors 4-0.
Alan Judge scored in the first half and further goals in the final 17 minutes from Stuart Dallas, Andre Gray and Jota sealed our fifth straight victory.
Wolves avenged that defeat in our last game of the year with a 2-1 victory.
Nouha Dicko and an own goal from James Tarkowski put them in control but the sending-off of Kevin McDonald and then a late Danny Batth own goal set up a nervy finish.
In October we won 2-0 at Molineux with a goal in each half from Marco Djuricin and Phillipp Hofmann – still one of only two midweek evening victories we have mustered this season in all competitions from 12 attempts.
Kenny Jackett is in his third season in charge at Molineux having been appointed at the end of May 2013.
Earlier that month Jackett had resigned as Millwall boss after six years in charge. During his time with the Lions he led the club into the Championship via a play-off final win over Swindon.
He has also been in charge of Swansea and Watford, where he spent his entire playing career before he was forced to retire because of injury aged only 28.
Wolves boss Kenny Jackett has vowed to stick with the same squad he named for Saturday’s defeat at Huddersfield for Tuesday’s match at Griffin Park – despite his side’s six-game winless run.
He told Wolves’ official website: “It’s not nice to lose but the effort and the application from the players was good on a tough day.
“They have to keep working that way and we now have another game to come on Tuesday.
“We have to work hard – it will be the same group of players and if they show the same attitude and spirit, they will be on the right lines.”
Wolves switched to a 4-4-2 formation at Huddersfield on Saturday – with recent signing Joe Mason playing up front alongside Bjorn Sigurdarson.
Kenny Jackett told the Wolverhampton Express and Star: “We went to a new shape, it was the right one for the forward player (Mason) we’ve brought in.
“I think 4-4-2 suits the personnel we have as we have lost some strong 4-3-3 players.”
Mason replaced the injured James Henry, who suffered a hamstring injury at Preston the previous weekend.
It ended Henry’s record of featuring in all of Wolves’ previous 31 league games during the season – starting 26 of them – and he is also the highest-scoring player this campaign still in the squad (on seven goals) following the sale of Benik Afobe to Bournemouth.
Tommy Rowe also replaced Jack Price in midfield to line up alongside George Saville, Conor Coady and Rajiv van La Parra.
Carl Ikeme was in goal behind a back four of Dominic Iorfa, Matt Doherty, Danny Batth and Ethan Ebanks-Landell.
Midfielder Kevin McDonald, Wolves’ second highest appearance-maker this season behind Henry, was among the substitutes.
But defender Mike Williamson, recently signed permanently from Newcastle following a loan spell, is still recovering from a hamstring problem.
Catch up with the verdict of Bees and Derby fans straight after the Rams’ 3-1 win at Griffin Park on Saturday.
Drinking in Brentford
For Wolves fans coming down, you are probably aware there are plenty of pub options pre-match and all are most welcoming. Colours are fine and there is no ‘bouncer culture’ on the doors of our boozers – not yet anyway. All fans are welcome and most fans usually cite Brentford as their favourite away-day which we’re quite proud of.
As is etched in common folklore , there were four pubs around the ground until the middle of last season – unfortunately one closed down to leave only three now. 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 is also popular with away fans. The Princess Royal is the other option (The Royal Oak was the one that closed down).
Other pubs slightly further afield for the more creative amongst you include (and this is by no means a definitive list) the … The Globe (Windmill Rd) is the Beesotted fanzine main pub – a very friendly pub indeed. The other boozer is The Lord Nelson (Enfield Rd) – both incredibly friendly and cosy away-friendly pubs and 30 seconds walk from each other .. frequented by ‘away fans in the know’. Boro fans and Bees fans had one hell of a party before and after last season’s league match in both these boozers (despite us losing)- and The Plough (Northfields Ave – 1 minute walk from the tube) in Northfields is a decent stop-off if you are coming by tube to Northfields before making your way down to the ground (normally stopping off at The Globe and Lord Nelson en route on the Northfields pub crawl).
Easily the best way to Brentford is to get the Victoria Line from Euston to Green Park and then the Piccadilly Line to either Northfields or South Ealing (35 mins).
Northfields is preferred by fans in the know as it has a decent pub crawl run on the way to the ground (Plough, Lord Nelson, Globe). South Ealing has one posh pub en route that doesn’t really like football fans so we won’t even give it a mention here. It’s 20 mins walk from either South Ealing OR Northfields to the ground or you can get the E2 bus from Northfields or 65 bus from South Ealing for the five-minute journey.
Some fans prefer to take the tube to Vauxhall, then get the overground to Brentford mainline station. Depending on your connection time, this could be a slightly longer route as you could be waiting for up to 15 minutes for a train and the train takes 26 mins to Brentford. Including your connection from King’s Cross this journey could take you the best part of an hour as opposed to under 40 minutes (plus the journey to the ground).
If you do take this route, there is also a pub right by Brentford station always referred to as … er … 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. Great views over The Thames. It’s around 15 minutes walk to the ground from here.
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 Road (ie. North) via Ealing Road or Windmill Road.