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Match Previews

MATCH PREVIEW: BRENTFORD V WIGAN ATHLETIC

1 May 2015

Latics head to the capital for final away assignment of the campaign against play-off chasing Bees.

  • Brentford need victory and defeat for either Derby County or Ipswich Town.
  • Must win by two-clear or hope Tractor Boys defeated by more than the odd goal.
  • Latics relegated in midweek after Rotherham United defeated Reading.
Wigan Athletic’s relegation to Sky Bet League One may now have been confirmed, but Gary Caldwell’s side head to the capital looking to build on an improved run of form since the Scot’s appointment as manager and with a part to play in the race for positions in the Play-Offs of the Sky Bet Championship.

Brentford are the hosts for the 12.15 kick-off on Saturday and the Griffin Park outfit could yet make the top six and challenge for promotion to the Premier League if they secure all three points and other results work in their favour.

Mark Warburton, who is leaving his post as manager of the Bees at the end of the campaign, will be hoping his side hold up their end and one of Ipswich Town or Derby County fall to defeat.

A point for Steve McClaren’s Rams at home to Reading would all-but secure a top six place due to a far superior goal difference whilst Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich Town, currently three points above Brentford, would have to lose their fixture at Blackburn to give the Bees any hope.

FLASHBACK


BRENTFORD 0 – 1 WIGAN ATHLETIC
SATURDAY 23RD NOVEMBER 2002
FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION TWO
GRIFFIN PARK

Latics maintained their position at the top of Division Two as Neil Roberts' strike edged out Brentford at Griffin Park.

With both sides at the top of the table, and Latics on a 12-match unbeaten run, a pulsating encounter seemed inevitable but Roberts’ close-range finish, on the stroke of half-time, was the only occasion when a goal looked likely.

A neat build-up from Paul Jewell's side found Roberts inside the area and he converted a low shot from six yards beyond Paul Smith to put the league leaders in control.

Nathan Ellington almost extended Latics’ advantage after the restart, shooting wide from outside the box, and his header then flew over the crossbar as the visitors tried to kill the game.

Stephen Hunt earlier had Brentford's first effort, although his shot was poor, and substitute Martin Rowlands also disappointed with an ambitious long-range strike.

BRENTFORD IN 2014/15 SO FAR

After gaining promotion to the second tier in 2013/14, the Bees set about strengthening their squad for what was expected to be a tough campaign almost immediately.

After star striker Clayton Donaldson left the club to join Birmingham City, there was already a void to be filled and Mark Warburton’s side were quick to do so with the arrival of Andre Gray from Luton Town.

Alan Judge, who had been on loan during the previous season, signed permanent from Blackburn Rovers whilst Moses Odubajo and Scott Hogan moved from League One clubs for substantial fees, though the latter’s Bees career has stalled due to injury.

There were also free additions in the form of Marcos Tebar, Tommy Smith and Nick Proschwitz whilst Jota joined from Celta Vigo and Alex Pritchard, Jon Toral and Betinho joined on loan.


The season began with a 1-1 draw in a London derby against Charlton before a thrilling 6-6 draw with Dagenham & Redbridge ended in the Bees progressing to the second round of the Capital One Cup.

Later in August, Brentford would exit the competition with defeat at London rivals Fulham though they also accumulated seven more Championship points thanks to wins at Blackpool and Rotherham United and a home draw with Birmingham.

High-flying Norwich City, Middlesbrough and Watford all defeated Warburton’s side in September but wins Brighton and Leeds left the Bees well-placed in mid-table.

It was the build-up to Christmas that really affirmed Brentford as promotion candidates with eight wins from 12 fixtures, including successes over Derby County, Nottingham Forest and Wolves, left the Griffin Park outfit third in the table just prior to the halfway stage.

Defeats to Wolves and Ipswich just after Christmas hindered the progress of the Bees but a good run at the start of 2015 with wins at Brighton and Norwich proving particular highlights and keeping Brentford well in with a shout of promotion in the final four months of the season.

Lewis Macleod and Jack O’Connell arrived on permanent deals whilst Chris Long and Liam Moore joined on loan to aid the promotion bid.

Unfortunately for the Bees, though, only seven wins from the 18 fixtures following the win at Carrow Road have left their fate requiring good fortune away from Griffin Park on the last day.

Manager Warburton, who leaves the club at the end of the season - a decision that has coincided with less consistent performances – will want to depart on a high, though, and Saturday is his opportunity to do that.


ONE TO WATCH – ALEX PRITCHARD


England youth international Alex Pritchard was the best player on the park when the Bees drew 0- with Latics back at the DW in October and he’s continued to be a vital part of Brenford’s promotion push since.

On loan from Tottenham Hotspur, Pritchard, who has previously enjoyed loan spells with Peterborough United and Swindon Town, links up the play between midfield and the frontman and his record of 11 goals in 

44 appearances this season has proved crucial.

Capped six times by the England U21 side, the 21-year-old was named in the 2014-15 Sky Bet Championship Team of the Year.

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