Q&A With Brentford

Tony Johnson answers our questions ahead of the 38th meeting between Brentford and Bolton at Griffin Park.

Wanderers go into the game on the back of a 1-1 draw at home to Charlton Athletic on Tuesday, while the Bees were beaten 1-0 at Sheffield Wednesday on the same evening.

In our latest edition of Q&A, Tony (@JohnsSonTony) shares his views on the future of manager Mark Warburton, the prospect of back-to-back promotions, as well as which Bolton player he would like to sign if Brentford were to make it into the Premier League.

Q: This is very simple. What on Earth are your owners playing at with regards Mark Warburton?

A: Believe me, we all asked ourselves a very similar question when the news leaked that he is to leave.

While it makes perfect sense for a football club - or any business for that matter - to plan for future eventualities, I think we showed a little bit of inexperience in the way we went about it. If we didn't get promoted at the end of the season, you could imagine a fair few teams would be taking a good look at what Warburton has done here and perhaps enticing him away, but, as it turns out, there's a grander plan at play which means he'll be on his way regardless.

Outwardly, it appears to stem from a difference in opinion in how a club's 'football department' is run. The owner, Matthew Benham, apparently wants to see a Director of Football coordinating a 'first-team coach', and Warbs doesn't want to just be a coach. Benham has put a lot of money into the club that he loves - he's a lifelong fan - and ultimately I think we have to trust his judgement. A lot of good things have happened at the club since he came in so there's no reason (yet) to doubt him.

Q: What has Warburton done to convert Brentford into a strong Championship team?

A: Warburton has built a strong unit - similar to Eddie Howe at Bournemouth, I think - where you can clearly see that the players get on, they enjoy playing the style we do and they are encouraged to try things.

We make mistakes. Oh Lord do we make mistakes, but while other managers might chop and change their side based on errors of judgement, Warburton has a tendency to stick with a more-or-less settled side.

Where we've lost players, either through their loan spellls ending  - Marcelo Trotta, George Saville and Tom Adeyemi in recent years - or being sold - Clayton Donaldson and Adam Forshaw in the last close-season - we've been able to pick up some other gems who, on current form, have been even better.

Last season, I personally thought Adam Forshaw was the best midfielder I'd ever seen in a Brentford shirt. But most of the current midfield are more than a match.

Q: What would it be like if you got into the play-offs and ended up winning promotion?

A: It's too early.

Honestly, while we've stumbled recently - two draws and a defeat in the last three - if it were to happen, it would be unreal. Little old, tinpot Brentford in the top flight.

We had a little taste a couple of seasons back when Chelsea came to Griffin Park in the FA Cup and snatched a draw and I would love to see days like that on a regular occurrence at the old place.

But there is uncertainty about whether we could actually hold Premier League games at Griffin Park. The facilities don't meet current standards and the club have already had to submit contingency plans to the PL in such a case - including various ground share options. There's a new stadium on the way, around 2017, which is why I say promotion this year would be too early - but it would still be amazing!

Q: Who has stole the show for Brentford this season?

A: I mentioned the midfield before. Many people would expect me to pick the likes of Jota, Alan Judge or Alex Prtichard, and any number of them would be worthy of a mention. As would Andre Gray, who has led the line up front superbly all season, which is amazing considering he was apparently bought as one for development to supplement Scott Hogan, who we got from Rochdale but got injured in pre-season and won't play until 2015/16).

For me, it's been the form of Toumani Diagouraga. He's a bit of an unheralded and sometimes ungainly midfielder but has really stepped up to the plate this year. We sent him out on loan to Portsmouth last year and a few Pompey fans at work asked for my opinion. I said that on his day he can be unplayable and, this season, he has had plenty of those days. If he scores, we're on the pitch and I'm really hoping that day is May 2 when Wigan come to ours on the last day of the season.

Q: If you do get promoted, who from the Bolton squad would you want to steal?

A: If you have a striker who can put away every chance he gets then we'd take him, and put money on us winning the league next year considering the possession and number of chances we have each game!

In all honesty, I've seen a bit and heard some of the buzz about the youngster Zach Clough. With our philosophy of trying to bring young players on, I reckon he might be one to take a punt on and see if it works.

Q: Finally, what is your score prediction for Saturday's game?

A: A very, VERY nervy 2-1 win for the Bees.

I think we've scored more goals in the last ten minutes this season than any other team so I fully expect it to be a late winner.

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

Football betting site Betway

Sky Bet League Two Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
18 Leyton Orient 6 5
19 Oldham Athletic 6 4
20 Bolton Wanderers 6 4
21 Scunthorpe United 6 4
22 Barrow AFC 6 3
View Full Standings >>

Poll

Who is Bolton's 2018/19 Player of the Year?
34.62% Gary O'Neil
19.38% David Wheater
18.92% Pawel Olkowski
9.27% Joe Williams
5.33% Jason Lowe
4.13% Sammy Ameobi
2.85% Josh Magennis
2.75% Mark Beevers
1.19% Jack Hobbs
1.01% Ben Alnwick
0.28% Andrew Taylor
0.28% Craig Noone