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If another player is going to be missing, can we find our voice?

25 Mar

Is Josh McEachran out for the rest of the season? With the loan window not so much being slammed as quietly easing shut yesterday, it was being reported on both West London Sport and Sky Sports (although both Lyall Thomas) that the former Chelsea man has suffered a training ground injury similar to the one that kept him out for such a long time at the Marinus end of the season. And with nobody else joining Leandro Rodríguez from Everton, despite suggestions after the Blackburn game that Head Coach Dean Smith was looking to make two more short-term acquisitions what does this mean for the Bees?

Firstly, and as has been said many times, our local press love talk of a double transfer swoop. An event that is actually rarer than a Nick Proschwitz goal, when it comes to inbound activity this is one area where I take nothing as fact until Matthew Benham has fired up his cryptic clue generator, Besotted have run an ‘exclusive’ or Brentford official have published the ‘signing shirt’ photo. I’ll also accept: ‘player holding scarf aloft’ or ‘new man sitting in portacabin holding pen over contract’.

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Josh signs for Brentford – classic ‘contract’ pose

Still, aside from goalkeepers (where Dean can still delve into the market to cover a ‘7 day emergency’), we now know the make up of the players available to see us, hopefully, over the line and start preparations for a third successive season in the Championship. Or do we?

The McEachran question is very much out there with nothing, as at the time of writing (Friday morning), from Brentford official. It would be a huge shame for the Bees and the player if this is the case. Josh did, if we’re being honest, struggle at the early part of his Griffin Park career but had been showing steady improvement over his 15 games. Now, it could be back to square one.

subbutteo injurie mount up

The injuries have piled up this season

Moreso, it would be yet another injury in a season which has been overshadowed (amongst other things) by the vast amount of players sidelined for medical reasons. We were told at the fans forum earlier in the season it was nothing but coincidence yet this horrendous run of bad luck has hardly helped our cause.

Still, we are where we are and there is enough quality in this squad to more than see us home. Should they play to their potential and ability – as a team. None of this ‘one man show’ stuff that we saw against a Blackburn side who were there for the taking.

Presumably Alan McCormack will slot straight into Josh’s position whilst we can also expect that other Chelsea wunderkind, John Swift, to return after the strange affair of the ‘hipster’ meme. Here’s hoping this period of enforced absence will have him reinvigorated and firing on all guns, back to the player who helped tear Wolves apart back in February. That result, a rare moment of solace in a 2016 that has seen Brentford lose 11 out of our 14 fixtures. Only the win at Preston and draw with Leeds in late January breaking the run of L’s blotting Dean’s copy book this calendar year.

We can moan and bitch about results all we want. Most of us have at various points, myself included. And rightly so at times.Yet without a bit of solidarity now, we could conceivably be facing a desperate start to 2016/17. In League 1.

The Bees still have to play 4 of the teams below us and with the gap a mere 6 points between us and the relegation spots, let’s not take anything for granted. Let’s not leave it too late to find our voice and our unity. Let’s not leave it too late to stop sniping at each other.

Absolutely, the players and the management team have to play their part. They are the only ones who can secure the points. But as supporters, we also have a our own role. Assuming we want to stay up, of course.

I saw a quite terrifying graphic on Twitter last night, c/o Jonathan Burchill. It highlighted this season and our previous Championship relegation campaign, back in 1992/93.

No words needed…..

The choice is simple. Stay up and we could be taking on the likes of Aston Villa and Newcastle United (I’m counting Chelsea as safe now, despite their mid-season hilarity). Throw it away, and it’ll be trips to Bristol Rovers, Oxford and Accrington Stanley.

Accrington Stanley, you may ask. Who are they?

Exactly.

Nick Bruzon

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Please come back in one piece, Alan

13 Nov

Do you laugh or cry? There was mixed news on the medical front yesterday as Brentford gave what is now, sadly, becoming a regular news feature – injury round up. And it seems the prognosis on Marco Djuricin, after he was stretchered of at Blackburn Rovers, is not great. Lewis Macleod meanwhile, yet to trouble the statisticians since signing from Glasgow Rangers in January, is lined up for even more recovery time.

Those were the headlines from a list that has, at the least, shrunk to 7 (seven) players compared to the double figures we’d seen earlier on in the campaign. Further, of that group Josh McEachran is due to play in a friendly against Bournemouth today whilst Jota resumes training with the team next week.

Jota - resumes training with the team net week

Jota – resumes training with the team net week

There were no surprises in regards to Andreas Bjelland and Scott Hogan (both out for the long term with no set return date) but it was the news about Marco Djuricin and Lewis Macleod that was the real disappointment. The Austrian striker is now looking at an eight-week rehabilitation from the ankle ligament injury suffered at Blackburn although, thankfully, not requiring surgery.

As for Lewis Macleod, we can expect his progress to be set back by the best part of a month after coming off early in the development squad game against Reading. Head of medical Neil Greig telling supporters that Lewis, “Will need to be progressively returned to training over the coming three to four weeks in order to account for his previous history.”

Injuries happen. That is part and parcel of football. I’ve just never known so many at one club in such a short space of time. It was a point flagged at the Brentford fans’ forum earlier on the season and labelled nothing more than coincidence. To be fair the casualty list has, mostly, shrunk since then but it is massively frustrating – and that’s the polite word. Especially in the cases of Marco and Lewis.

The injuries have piled up this season

The injuries have piled up this season

Having sold Andre Gray for a vast fee, the team has struggled to replace that sort of killer instinct up top. Djuricin looked like he was shaping up to be the man to do it and then – boom. Out for two months. That said, Lasse Vibe is our second highest scorer after Alan Judge and will now, surely, be the man landed with that starting role after bagging recent goals at Blackburn and Charlton.

Looking at Lewis Macleod, there was much frustration (along with many good wishes) from the Rangers supporters when Mark Warburton signed him up the moment the January transfer window opened. And yet despite all the promise, we are still waiting to see him in first team action.

I can only feel for the player and the club staff. To have such a prodigious talent in the wings, constantly wrapped in cotton wool, must require an incredible amount of patience. I’m desperately keen to see him in on pitch as, I have no doubt, Lewis and all around him are.

After so long out, easing him back in can only be the right thing to do. The Championship has proven an incredibly physical league and the risks of chucking somebody who may not be fully fit into a competitive match seems obvious to me. I have no doubt we’ll get that decision right – I just hope it is this year.

The one real positive was the news that Brentford’s man of the moment, Alan Judge, is fully recovered after missing the games against Hull City and Blackburn Rovers. As such, he has joined up with the Republic of Ireland squad for tonight’s European qualifier against Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Good luck, Alan. And please come back in one piece.

Nick Bruzon