We spoke to Grev Waterman from the Beesotted podcast/ blog to get a Bees perspective ahead of the huge West London derby at Wembley!
There’s very little time for the winning side to prepare for life in the Premier League. Do you think with your current squad, you are ready to give it a go?
Let’s win it first before worrying about next season! Irrespective of the result we are most likely to lose the Little Magician Said Benrahma and players of his calibre are hard to replace. Otherwise, we are already well set in terms of pure ability but lack Premier League nous as our whole squad has played a massive 9 minutes in the EPL!
You’ve had a good setup at Brentford for a number of years now. How does Thomas Frank and the job he’s doing compare with Mark Warburton and Dean Smith?
TF seems a lot closer to the squad than his predecessors and has become a massive influence on them. He is cool, calm and massively well prepared. The key difference between him and Smith and Warburton is that he has instilled a love of defending in all squad members which was seen as an optional extra by former players.
Scott Parker confirmed in his press conference today that Mitrovic is fit to play and that we have a fully fit squad. Does this change the mindset of the Brentford camp going into the game?
Not really. I hope Mitrovic is fit to start. Of course, he can really hurt you if given space and room but he contributes little in terms of holdup and set-up play and Fulham are better balanced and more dangerous without him.
Where do you see the key battles where the final will be won and lost?
In midfield where we need to keep the ball and ensure that Cairney and Reed don’t control the game. We also need to press like demons and win the ball back high up the field or keep Fulham penned back in their own half playing the ball around in non-dangerous areas.
Does your recent record over us, in particular, the double this season give you a psychological edge?
Of course, I would say “yes” but in truth, this is a total one-off and will be won by the team that expresses itself, plays without fear and defends properly.
You’ve lost all 3 playoff finals as a club. Is this something that’s in the back of your mind or is it irrelevant?
This is our 9th attempt at the playoffs, hopefully, it won’t become 4 failed finals tomorrow. Of course, it’s in the forefront of my mind and that of every other Brentford fan. It’s time to get the monkey off our back. Finally!!
With the way this final has folded nicely into place, particularly the timing with the farewell of Griffin Park and a new era about to begin. Is this West London derby a case of eternal bragging rights for the winner?
I think our recent record over you quite fairly gives us the bragging rights but tomorrow is the big one and provides us with an incredible opportunity to establish ourselves as a West London powerhouse.
1-0 to the Bees.