With one midfield genius missing, could it be time for a new one to prove us wrong?

27 Sep

Brentford take on Reading tonight knowing that victory will see us leap frog the currently fourth placed Royals. The key questions being, which Brentford team will Dean Smith have at his disposal? And could one of our former players, then Chelsea loanee John Swift, come back to haunt the Bees?

Well, the FA website has finally caught up with the rest of us to confirm, officially, that Ryan Woods is missing for this one. The yellow card picked up in Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Wolves being his fifth of the season and so just cause to sit this one out.

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Ryan Woods

Along with Daniel Bentley and Scott Hogan, Ryan has been one of our standout players over the first nine games of the campaign. He’ll be sorely missed and may not be alone, either. Both Josh McEachran and Lewis Macleod had to come off as a result of injury in the game Molineux. The former on a stretcher and so participation is, what we will politely call, questionable at best.

Which does beg the question of how Dean shuffles the proverbial pack for this one. Presumably Nico Yennaris, dropped to the bench for Wolves, will get his place back but beyond that what else can we expect?

A return for Alan McCormack? The tough tackling fan favourite would certainly add some bite. Does he send out a search party to look for Konstantin Kerschbaumer? Somebody who, unless I have missed news of injury, seems to have been frozen out this time around for reasons unknown. This, despite finishing last campaign on a high.

Or will the likes of Josh Clarke, Sam Saunders or Lasse Vibe be pressing for a claim to add an extra dimension to the Brentford starting XI? As for the substitutes bench, that could see some less than familiar names – not necessarily a bad thing as we’ve seen in the past. Who could forget Tom Field’s wonderful debut against Fulham?

As for the game itself, there are no doubt points to prove for both teams following last season’s encounters. At Griffin Park, we went down 3-1 although that was during the brief period also known as the  Marinus era so, by all rights, should probably be stricken from the record. Move along, nothing to see here.

The return game at the Madjeski saw that wonderful 2-1 win and Dean Smith’s side rise to the highest position all season. Eighth place and within sniffing distance of the play off zone heading into 2016, we don’t talk about what happened in the next three months. Move along, definitely nothing to see here.

And it was, of course, the game that featured those two goals. Those. Two. Goals. A pair of piledrivers that left Jonathan Bond in the Reading goal with no chance. Whilst it’s not good to overly wallow in nostalgia, moreso given neither scorer will even feature tonight, sometimes you need to remind yourself of just how good football can be.

Ryan Woods grabbed the first. A wondrous strike from distance that West London’s premier Journalist, Tom Moore, would describe on Twitter: “That’s @BrentfordFC’s goal of the month competition sorted. 25 yards out.” How little he, and we, knew….

Even Channel 5 went into meltdown (geographically, too) with that one, as their Twitter feed suggests… @FootballOn5 telling us : It’s an absolute screamer at Griffin Park – one to look out for later!

But then Sergi Canos took control and made the goal of the season, let alone the month, his own

Ryan Woods, man-of-the-match by a country mile, lofted a perfect ball to the Spaniard out on the right wing. His first touch was sheer perfection as he lofted it past Stephen Quinn in a style almost reminiscent of Gazza leaving Colin Hendry for dead at Euro ’96. One man gone. By comparison he made drifting past his second man, Michael Hector, look positively easy before firing home on the diagonal from the edge of the box to the far corner.

Bees fans went bonkers and Canos was ecstatic. Bond was left shaken and stirred whilst Tom Moore had to reopen his book on ‘goal of the month’.

Even Sergi took to Twitter last night to note :”What a great moment that was“.

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Sergi Canos gives Mark Fuller a belated Christmas present

That was then, this is now. Brentford have had a very positive start to the season indeed. Moreso than most expected. Whilst it’s nice to look back at those wonder strikes, I’d be more than happy to go home with a scrappy 1-0 tonight. It won’t be easy by any stretch of the imagination but then nobody said that a chance to catch up with the third placed team ever would be.

Besides, in a game where midfield decision will be key for the Bees, could another of our own team from last season be the man to make the difference? John Swift, of course, will have a massive point to prove.

Very much the target of the terrace managers, and understandably so at times, if we’re being honest he didn’t always live up to the potential suggested when he came in on loan from Chelsea. Despite a long run in the team he struggled to get going or carve out a role as danger man. For every moment of skill, you would as easily see a woefully mishit pass, an attempt to over elaborate or simply getting caught out of position.

Well how he has proved us all wrong this season. Very much the man of the moment at Reading, social media feed suggests that Royals’ supporters are already worried he’ll be snapped up in the January transfer window. Certainly, we shared some of this in the regular weekend round up (you can find :The good, the bad and the ugly here) and it would be fair to say that this was very much the thin end of the wedge.

There’ll be as much interest from Brentford fans in the Reading midfield tonight as there will be in our own. Here’s hoping Dean picks the right combination to snuff them out.

See you at Griffin Park when we find out.

SWIFT Brentford QPR

Oh to have seen more of Swift at his best

Nick Bruzon

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