Preston North End manager Alex Neil believes that Wednesday night’s game at Griffin Park is one that is crucial for both team’s ambitions.
The Lilywhites head to face the Bees, with plenty to play for, for both sides, but it will certainly be a tough one for PNE, who face the side in the best form in the division.
Thomas Frank’s side have won six games straight since the resumption of the Championship and seven overall – having thrashed Sheffield Wednesday 5-0 in the last game before the cessation of hostilities in the second tier.
But despite this excellent form, that has put them on the cusp of the top two, previous games against the West London side have given the North End boss confidence.
“Every team is beatable, but the first thing you have to do is give Brentford a lot of credit for the form that they have been in and how well they have done in recent matches,” he told iFollow PNE.
“We have beaten them before, but we are going to have to play well, because they are in really good form.
“Their front three have an incredible scoring record each individually and collectively and that is something we are going to have to pay particular attention to.
“We are going to have to perform well – particularly down at their place – Brentford at home are certainly difficult to beat at their own place.
“We know and understand it is going to be a tough match, but I don’t think there is a more difficult venue than going to Leeds and we went there and drew 1-1 and arguably could have won it.
“It is one of those matches where we have to go and play as well as we possibly can; we have really limited fixtures left and we have to get every point we can muster, so this is going to be a crucial game.”
The Bees run of results has been no surprise to Alex, who feels that the behind closed doors environment suits his opponents’ expansive style of play.
“I do think that there are certain teams really suited to the format that we are in right now and I would put Brentford at the top of that list,” he continued.
“They are very pattern-based in the way that they play - they have a lot of rotations and different things and by applying pressure and playing on top of them and getting the fans behind you and putting doubts into the players’ heads when they try to risk the ball in certain areas.
“We have used that tactic to our advantage in previous occasions against them. However, without fans being there, that pressure that the players will feel, is eradicated really.”
PNE will be the underdogs down at Griffin Park, but that is something they have flourished as in the past: “I don’t think it is something we think too much about. When we go to certain teams, like Brentford, we know that they are good at certain aspects of the game, so what we focus on is the aspects that make that much more difficult to do and that has served us really well.
“And then there are other teams that we will go to, who will play in a completely different manner, because we believe that that is the best way for us to win.
“We have no qualms in terms of how we would set up against teams like this and at home it served us well. Down there is proves difficult, but we know what is at stake, they know what is at stake and that’s what makes it a very interesting game.
“They need to win as well, because they still have hopes of automatic promotion and this game, in particular, for them, is going to be crucial,” he added.
There is loads more from Alex, as he discusses the fatigue that will be starting to play its part in all teams, about the last few teams and the latest on injuries, available on the video at the top of the page.