PNE boss ready for a tough test from improving Bees

Brentfords Neal Maupay (left) goes chest-to-chest with Sunderland striker James Vaughan (photo: Frank Reid)
Brentfords Neal Maupay (left) goes chest-to-chest with Sunderland striker James Vaughan (photo: Frank Reid)
Share this article

Preston manager Alex Neil is expecting a tough game from a Brentford side who appear to be finding their feet after a tough start to the season.

The Bees come to Deepdale unbeaten in six league games, that run featuring four draws and two wins.

They had been made to wait until their ninth Championship clash of the campaign to put a victory on the board, a 3-0 victory at Bolton.

Neil said: “Brentford are a dangerous side, they remind me of Fulham in the way they play.

“They want to get the ball down and play through the central areas.

“Brentford have got pace on the flanks, retain the ball and are very aggressive in their style of play.

“It should be a good game and it’s good to be back at home again.”

The West London outfit’s squad underwent changes in the summer.

They sold three players – Harlee Dean, Maxime Colin and Jota – to Birmingham.

Recruitment was done at home and abroad, with Neal Maupay arriving in a £1.6m deal from St Etienne in France, while Henrik Dalsgaard came from Belgian club Waregem.

Closer to home, the Bees made their move for winger Ollie Watkins from Exeter.

Said Neil: “Brentford have a foreign-based ownership, they work off his stats quite a lot – that was the case when Mark Warburton was there.

“That is still the driving force behind the recruitment.

“What they have got are some good young players and a lot of mobility at the top end of the pitch.

“Brentford have spent some decent money as well – they bought Sergi Canos from Norwich for a couple of 
millions when I was manager there.

“They also bought Ollie Watkins for good money from Exeter.

“Equally, they have lost players, with Harlee Dean and the other two lads signing for Birmingham, then last season Scott Hogan went to Villa.

“They are naturally having to churn the squad which can be difficult at times.”

Last week, Brentford drew 3-3 with Sunderland at home, coming back from 3-1 down to deny Simon Grayson’s men.

Nico Yennaris had given them an early lead, only for the Black Cats to surge ahead before half-time.

Florain Jozefzoon set the ball rolling on the comeback, with Maupay scoring a slightly fortuitous equaliser.

The French striker, on as a sub, deflected a shot from Jozefzoon into the net just four minutes after coming on.

Jozefzoon, a January buy from PSV Eindhoven, said: “It was nice to contribute but the important thing is the team.

“We didn’t play well in the first half and we knew that at half-time.

It was a really important time to get that goal at the start of the second half.

“It gave us belief and we were able to make it 3-3 at the end. We aren’t happy because we thought we should have won but at least we didn’t lose.

“ Extending our unbeaten run is good, it gives us that bit more confidence.”