Brentford vs Birmingham City Preview: Will former Bees stars win on first return to Griffin Park?

Brentford vs Birmingham City Preview: Will former Bees stars win on first return to Griffin Park?

Jota, Harlee Dean and Maxime Colin were all part of Brentford's most successful generation for decades. They all joined Birmingham in the summer, with the Blues still scrapping away at the wrong end of the table.

Bradley Collings

A trio of ex-Brentford players will be hoping to collect three points at Griffin Park, where they will line up for Birmingham City in the away dressing room.

Team news

Harlee Dean, who made 249 appearances for Brentford, is set to play against his former side for the first time. Dean was an unused substitute in the reverse fixture this campaign, but is now a regular starter at centre-back.

The Blues lost that fixture 0-2 at home, with Maxime Colin and Jota both starting against their previous employers. Colin looks likely to play at left-back, but Jota may have to settle for a place on the bench after failing to produce the kind of displays which saw him attract Premier League interest before Harry Redknapp signed the winger.

In the midfield department, the visitors welcome back Cheikh Ndoye from a one-game ban, but Maikel Kieftenbeld starts a two-game ban for picking up 10 yellow cards and David Davis is an injury doubt.

Meanwhile, for Brentford, Sergi Canos completes a three-game ban after being sent off for a late tackle against Derby County. Nico Yennaris missed out on being named in the matchday squad for the first time this season due to personal reasons, as The Bees coasted to a 2-0 win at Sunderland.

South Africa international Kamohelo Mokotjo has improved after a slow start in West London since his move from FC Twente, and he scored his first goal for Brentford against Sunderland. John Egan kept his place against his former club in that game, and Dean Smith must decide whether to keep him in defence or replace him with highly-rated youngster Chris Mepham.

Recent form

Birmingham lost 0-1 in what was a third defeat in a row at the hands of Millwall, with Fred Onyedinma capitalising on some sluggish defending to finish past David Stockdale at the second attempt. However, a mini-revival over the Christmas period has seen the Blues move outside the relegation zone, where they have languished for most of the season. City have failed to score in their past two games, which has contributed to a league record-low of 16 games without scoring.

With that record in mind, Brentford’s defence will be in confident mood now that they have reached 10 Championship clean sheets this season. The Bees won five out of six matches over Christmas, but have struggled for consistency since, winning just once in four league games.

Previous meetings

Brentford have not beaten Birmingham at Griffin Park since 1954. But the Bees have stung the Blues in their last two meetings at St. Andrew’s, and will hope for a third win in a row against Steve Cotterill’s men.

A result is important for both Brentford and Birmingham, who see their respective play-off and relegation rivals play against each other this midweek. The Bees sit just six points off the play-offs, with Birmingham two points clear of relegation. The ex-Brentford stars Jota, Colin and Dean will be hoping to collect their win bonuses as they aim to push themselves clear of the relegation zone.