Who will pass the ‘trial by TV’?

30 Nov

The pieces are falling in to place with Brentford travelling to Bolton Wanderers tonight knowing that victory will take us to within one point of Birmingham City in sixth place. Lee Carsley remains in charge (for now) whilst Dean Smith at Walsall is the new favourite to takeover longer term- certainly, if you believe what you read in the press. And for those not travelling, it all gets played out for us on Sky Sports 1 .

Formwise, Bolton aren’t in a good place at the moment. They haven’t recorded a win in eleven games and their solitary ‘three points’ all season came way back on September 12 against Wolves. Indeed, they are rooted to the bottom of the Championship table with a record that makes more painful viewing than an episode of Mrs. Browns Boys.

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The BBC table shows Bolton’s current predicament

Brentford, meanwhile, with memories of The Marinus experiment disappearing faster than you can relay a pitch, are back on inspired form. 5 wins from 7(seven) under Lee Carsley have seen us storm up the table to within touching distance of the promotion pack . It is a position that seemed impossible to many a few weeks ago but it just goes to show, once again, that the league is a marathon not a sprint. So can the Bees seize the moment?

The primary talking point about our team tonight is sure to be Harlee Dean or, rather, his absence. The centre back starts his three match ban tonight, following his sending off against Nottingham Forest. Whilst nobody can deny Jonathan Williams collapsed like a house of cards before his miraculous post red recovery, had Harlee not lashed out then we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

Jack O’Connell has impressed on the opportunities he has been given and so will, presumably, slot straight in. It will be very interesting to see what he does over the next three games to try and make the position his own and give our new manager an immediate decision to make (assuming they are in place by then).

Likewise, Jota took to social media on Sunday evening to tease an imminent return. Could tonight, even from the bench, be the time for the king to regain his crown? His Twitter feed (below) is getting Bees’ fans excited.

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Could we see Jota tonight?

I don’t write Bolton off by any stretch, either. With a four point gap between them and Rotherham in 23rd, they’ll be desperate to avoid another defeat. Further, I saw an interesting stat that, proportion wise (36%) they lead the Championship for the amount of their goals that have come in the final 15 minutes. Brentford, of all teams, know the importance of playing to the final whistle, as Ipswich and Nottingham Forest can confirm from this season alone.

Statistically, you can’t look beyond ‘away’ win. But, but – this is our team. And we all know how form and common sense go out of the window when it comes to your own team. Bolton hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for the Bees in recent years, with last season’s 3-1 defeat being a particularly scrappy performance where we struggled to carve out chances.

As such, I’m struggling to call it. The head says ‘three points’. The heart says ‘don’t lose’ .

At 7.45 tonight, we find out which.

button bolton

View from the terrace – even David Button tried up front last season

Nick Bruzon

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