Q&A With Brentford

  • October 24, 2014 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/91d88

Ahead of the 37th meeting between Bolton and Brentford, we have got the views of a Bees supporter.

Wanderers go into the game on the back of a 2-1 defeat at Charlton Athletic on Tuesday, while Brentford were held to a goalless draw by Sheffield Wednesday on the same evening.

In our latest edition of Q&A, we have spoken to Tony Johnson (@JohnsSonTony) - a follower of Brentford since the 1990s. His earliest memory of the club is a 4-0 victory over Fulham in April 1992, six days after the most recent meeting between themselves and Bolton. He lists Billy Manuel and Brian Statham among his favourite ever players, with Jake Bidwell topping the list of their current crop.

Ahead of Saturday's game, Tony shares his views on Neil Lennon's appointment as Wanderers manager, his thoughts on former manager Uwe Rosler's struggles at Wigan Athletic, as well as why the trio of Jay Spearing, Jermaine Beckford and Max Clayton could prove to be Bolton's winning combination at the weekend.

Q: Brentford have taken to the Championship really well, winning five of their opening 13 fixtures to occupy 12th place in the league. What was the target for this season and has your impressive start altered those initial thoughts?

A: Personally, I'd have taken ending the season above the relegation zone on goal difference as a success. But we're used to being pessimistic - especially with a new ground on the horizon, we really didn't want to join the likes of Yeovil Town and Doncaster Rovers in slipping straight back into League One.

However, we're a slightly different Brentford these last few years and at the start of the season there was a bit more confidence around and mid-table security seemed to be the consensus. We certainly don't want to be looking over our shoulders nervously come April or May.

Our start has been pretty encouraging. I'll readily admit there are better teams than us in this division, but there are also a fair few, on early form, who are worse.

Q: Mark Warburton has an enviable record since taking over from Uwe Rosler at Griffin Park. What has he brought to the club - a club which is currently placed higher than your former manager's latest team?

A: Warburton had been in the setup for a while and although there were some calling for another 'big' name after Uwe jumped ship, I think the consistency of approach he brought with him has helped us.

As Sporting Director before, he had a hand in signing a lot of the players he is now managing - which has stood him in good stead.

He's still learning, as we all are at this level, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit pleased we're currently above Wigan in the table.

Q: Speaking of managers, Neil Lennon recently took over from Dougie Freedman at Macron Stadium. What was your opinion on Freedman's dismissal and how do you think Lennon will fare in English football?

A: I still remember being a bit surprised when Freedman took the job - as I recall Crystal Palace were doing well at the time and looking good for the play-offs. But, I suppose Freedman saw something at Bolton he thought he could work with.

Perhaps he bit off a bit more than he could chew and that eventually caught up with him. When a club with a recent Premier League history like Bolton starts the season the way they had, it's bound to raise questions and, unfortunately, the first thing you look to change, rightly or wrongly, is the manager.

I suppose Lennon will face the expected questions about leading a charmed life coaching Celtic - although the current guy doesn't seem to be fairing too well - but I'm sure the experience of being under pressure to win every single match, week in week out, will help him with the pressure of lifting Bolton up the table.

Q: Jonathon Douglas has weighed in with three league goals so far this season. Is he likely to be the biggest threat to Bolton on Saturday, or will Lennon have somebody else in mind?

A: In terms of goal threat, I think even Dougie would be the first to admit he's not often described that way!

Brentford have been praised for our attacking potential this season, but, in recent weeks, unfortunately, that's been all - potential. Last time out, against Sheffield Wednesday, we bossed the first 20 minutes but hardly had a shot on goal. I think my Dad gets sick of hearing me say 'someone is up for a spanking one of these weeks'. With any luck, it'll be Bolton!

In all seriousness, our main striker is currently Andre Gray - who was top goalscorer in the Conference last season, with Luton Town. I think the step up is massive, but he looks like he's got the raw materials so I expect him to come good.

If you look at our 'front five' besides Douglas, there should be goals in any of them. Alex Pritchard, Moses Odubajo, Jota, Alan Judge and Gray.

Q: On the flip side, which Wanderers player do you see causing the most damage to Brentford?

A: A couple of people in my family support Liverpool, so Jay Spearing is a name I recognise. Also, because of the Leeds United connection of a friend, Jermaine Beckford.

I also see you've picked up Max Clayton. There were rumours that he was on his way to us in the summer, so, in a similar way to the 'ex-player always scores' rule, perhaps the 'nearly-striker rule' might come into play.

Potentially, though, our biggest threat comes from our own wastefulness.

Q: Finally, what do you think the final score will be in the first league meeting between the two clubs since April 1992?

A: Although someone is due a spanking one of these weeks, I'm going for a third consecutive draw for the Bees.

1-1 - the goal-machine Douglas to score.

Burnden Aces would like to thank Tony for taking the time to answer our questions. You can read more of his views by following him on Twitter - @JohnsSonTony.

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