Brentford visit Hull City AFC tomorrow for a game that was originally set for March 8th but subsequently put back due to the host’s FA Cup involvement with Arsenal. Understandably there was much frustration from the Bees faithful at the time although, in retrospect, might this have been a blessing in disguise? At least from a playing perspective.
At the time, Hull City were right amongst the promotion chasing teams and in with a very real chance of ‘automatic’. Since that date, they’ve only won three times. The Premier League is still more than possible but now it will need to be via the play-offs .
However, with a place in the end of season ‘choke-off’ already assured the only thing, momentum aside, that they have to play for is whether they can hang on to fourth place and a second leg at home.
I say “only”. Its a position I’d still love to be in ourselves. After coming so close last season, most of us would have loved another bite at the proverbial cherry.
Brentford, meanwhile, were in the depths of despair back in early March. As has been well documented, 2016 started terribly and this game would have been sandwiched between the 2-1 home defeat to Charlton (yes, the same Charlton who have since slithered into League 1) and then the 3-0 ‘no show’ at Loftus Road.
It was a period that saw the Bees flirting with the teams in the relegation zone and a game at high flying Hull is probably the last thing we would have wanted.
Yet now the Bees have it all to play for. And then some. Dean Smith is in possible contention for ‘Manager of the Month’ (what a shame the league don’t do ‘head coach of the month’ – he’d make a clean sweep). Victory will take him to 6 wins in April, surpassing the 5 achieved by Chris Hughton at Brighton and Aitor Karanka at Middlesbrough. That said, even a win doesn’t guarantee things with the Smoggies closing the month at Birmingham.
More importantly though, victory will take the Bees five points clear of the Loftus Road mob with just two games to play. And, without wanting to get too far ahead of us, we then host Fulham before QPR are next up. On Monday evening at Burnley.
The ‘kings’ of West London league football could be crowned prior to the final weekend. Last season it was a two club battle with the Bees finishing 26 points clear of Fulham. How sweet to do it again with the loud mouths from the Bush chucked into the mix this time around.
If this isn’t incentive to go for it on Tuesday, I don’t know what is.