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PREVIEW: Brentford head south for Bournemouth test

This weekend sees the final awayday of the campaign for Brentford – a trip to the South Coast to take on Bournemouth. Nick Bruzon previews.

2023-24 Brentford Player Ratings – Matchweek 34

This weekend sees the final awayday of the campaign for Brentford – a trip to the South Coast to take on Bournemouth. Nick Bruzon previews.

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

With a fourth season of Premier League football assured, the last couple of games have seen that rarest of things – the Bees firing blanks. A 1-0 reverse at Everton was followed by last week’s 0-0 with Fulham. That later game one which ended up being a supremely frustrating afternoon – but enough about the officials.

Kris Ajer was forced off early with what ultimately transpired to be a broken nose. Thomas Frank using Thursday’s press conference to confirm that he and the other major absentee from the game with the Cottagers, Mathias Jensen, are both back in contention.

Injuries aside, the main talking point from those recent encounters has to be goals, or the lack. After the 5-1 trashing inflicted on Luton Town, and the mathematical possibility of hitting the bottom three finally dispelled, many fans thought the handbrake would be off. Instead, the Bees struggled to create chances with the rub of the green not quite going their way.

It’s hardly the stuff of major crisis but with Ivan Toney copping it from certain areas of the Brentford support (seriously??!!!!) what better way to call time on his Bees’ career than by firing himself to England selection? The Euros are almost upon us and with Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins just shortlisted for Premier League Player of the Year, it seems a straight fight between the pair of them as to who is selected.

Ivan has performed heroics for Brentford over the years. If, as seems certain, he’ll be off in the summer then I am sure he’ll want to call time in style. Out with a bang rather than a whimper. Expect him at the top end of a front three supported by a four-man defence. Thomas will pick his team based on what he sees in training – not what he hears from the terraces.

Whether Mikkel Damsgaard and KLP, who both impressed in the Fulham match, get a start is one of the toughest decisions to even try and predict. The Bees head coach faced with the nicest of selection problems – too much choice – with the pair of them a regular feature in our game-by-game top five over the last month or so.

KLP, in particular, perhaps unlucky to be pulled off so early last week. Then again, some of the substitutions from the Fulham game seemed to surprise the players as much as the fans. At one point Peter Gilham having to repeat the change-over to a surprised-looking Christian Norgaard.

For Bournemouth, the top half of the table is their main target. Something that will represent a phenomenal achievement over what has been a wonderful season. Many pundits tipped them to be relegated – they’ve gone above and beyond in proving them all wrong. Instead, tenth (possibly higher) awaits although they’ll have to do so without their contingency of former Bees.

Ryan Fredericks and Chris ‘agent’ Mepham amongst those on the absentee list but still enough strength in depth to cause headaches. Something we saw way back in September where the Bees dominated but had to be content with a draw. The Gtech game finishing 2-2 with Brentford leaving it very late to salvage a point despite taking a the lead just 7 (seven) minutes in.

Bryan Mbeumo coming to the rescue then with one of the goal of the season contenders. More finishing of that quality on Saturday would be very nice, thank you.

Perhaps washed down with an Ivan Toney penalty for old time’s sake.

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