To Brentford! And a game between two resolutely midtable sides for whom time to mount a large burst into the top six has almost expired. City, four points ahead of the Bees, have a smaller gap to close and are probably already in possession of enough points for safety, while Brentford need just a few more; but really, this has the feel of a game between two sides who’ll both be lining up in the 2019/20 Championship.
That’s fine for City, who spent much of the early part of the campaign looking like a side who’d be finding out what the Auto Windscreens Shield is currently called next season. Less good for Brentford, who must have expected more than this and perhaps even a tilt at the top six. As it is, we played out the deadest of rubbers on the final day of last season, and this particular caoutchouc looks almost as lifeless.
But we shall not despair, for Brentford really is one of the finest away days in the Championship, and indeed the country. A friendly, welcoming corner of the capital with a proper standing terrace (the last at this level) and proximate pubs aplenty, there’s a lot to enjoy here. It’s been the scene of Tiger glory before as we’ve won four of our last seven visits, the best being a 2-0 win in 1999 being the day that Warren Joyce’s City side clambered their way into the Football League’s top 91 en route to the Great Escape.
Whatever happens tomorrow, a repeat of that magnificent day seems a tall order, and just a repeat result would require our ever-stretched squad overcoming further adversity as Kevin Stewart is now injured. Jordy de Wijs may be fit though, so at least we could have one or two defenders playing in their preferred defensive position – something of a luxury these days.
Brentford are without Ezri Konsa, who’s banned after a recent red card, while Rico Henry, Emiliano Marcondes and Lewis Macleod are all injured. Henrik Dalsgaard may return, however.
The Bees tumbled out of the FA Cup last week with a 4-1 cuffing at Swansea, but they won their last League game 1-0 against Aston Villa, and savoured a memorable 5-2 win against Blackburn three weeks ago. City have stuttered a little lately, losing their last two on the road without scoring and have won only one of the last five.
Given the advantage of home territory, Brentford are favourites: 10/11 is the best you’ll get on a home win. City are a distant 7/2 for victory, while a draw is 3/1. See you on that lovely sundrenched terrace…