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PREVIEW: Brentford face Manchester United in late Saturday kick-off

Footballing moments don’t come any bigger than this. Saturday night’s visit of Manchester United to the Gtech is a game that is sure to see the atmosphere through the roof. Nick Bruzon previews.

Ivan Toney and Keane Lewis-Potter of Brentford

Footballing moments don’t come any bigger than this. Saturday night’s visit of Manchester United to the Gtech is a game that is sure to see the atmosphere through the roof. Not so much due to the historical reputation of our once great opponents but as much the current presence of Ivan Toney.

Jamie Moore's Diary - jockey talks Goshen and Ascot rides

Tuesday evening saw him not only emerge England’s most recent goal scorer but, in converting that first-half penalty, he became the first-ever Brentford player to find the back of the net for the Three Lions. I suspect it may be mentioned – and rightly so. What a quite incredible achievement for a player who goes from strength to strength.

Both Ivan and the crowd will be buzzing. The potential to take things even further now there to be grasped. The extra boost from the international break is that Brentford have survived with no new injuries reported.

Instead, there have been two weeks to put some distance between the reverse at Burnley and this fixture. A game which, let’s not forget, last season saw The Bees obliterate United to such an extent that at one point it looked as though we were going to have to start rummaging around for the 7(seven) goal brackets.

Bryan Mbeumo’s strike to make it 4-0 on 35 minutes, the culmination of a quite breath-taking move involving Mathias Jensen and Toney, still up there as my goal of the season.

Thankfully, Bryan made a long-awaited return to action at Turf Moor and could well start this one having had a further fortnight to boost his fitness. A midweek video release from Thomas Frank telling us that “Bryan has progressed further in this week just gone in terms of extra fitness work, trying to get sharper and sharper so it’s really, really positive.”

Whilst Ethan Pinnock had been touted for a return after his month or so out, Thomas Frank used his Friday press conference to confirm the defender is still missing. Likewise, Christian Norgaard who is still in recuperation.

It is no coincidence that Bryan, Ethan and Christian occupy the top three slots in our season-long player of the year campaign. They have been wonderful this time around and their absences hard felt. Hopefully, they will be back soon.

Moreso as the question of left back remains an ongoing one, given Sergio Reguilón saw ‘straight red’ last time out. KLP being the likely option to replace given how he has fared when filling in there.

As for United, whatever they have done in the past those days are long, long gone. Now they are just another club who were once any good, surviving on former glories and currently scrapping with the likes of Brighton and West Ham to finish in the top six. Playing the team in front of us rather than the ghosts of European silverware once lifted is key.

Their own squad has a few key absences in Anthony Martial, Luke Shaw, Tyrell Malacia (all injured) and Amad Diallo (suspended). Others are dubious whilst Harry Maguire came back from England duty early – whether he was injured or ‘injured’ remains to be seen.

Former Bee Christian Eriksen, in the squad but barely getting a look in these days, may get a run out. What he did for us in that first top-flight season should never be forgotten and it feels such a waste of talent to see him not starting week in, week out. No matter how much the nature of his departure still feels frustrating (that’s the polite word for a decision dragged out longer than a ‘reveal’ on The Masked Singer), I’d have him back like a shot should the opportunity ever arise .

That’s all conjecture, of course. For now, the focus has to be on three points. On hoping it is Ivan Toney rather than United’s Kobbie Mainoo who picks up where he left off midweek. Perhaps, even, on finishing the job The Bees started at Old Trafford.

Back in October, the trip to the North-West saw Brentford 1-0 up with the clock showing 90+3 before became the most heart-breaking reverse. Scott McTominay inflicting the killer blows that day and denying Thomas Frank a most famous victory.

That was then. This is now. He’ll have boxed it off long ago, even if the fans still remember.

Brentford have more than proven they can better United in recent games. Saturday night under lights provides a wonderful opportunity to do it again.

Jamie Moore's Diary - jockey talks Goshen and Ascot rides
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