Upwardly moving Bolton Wanderers will be looking to extend their current revival in the Championship when they head to the capital for a fixture at Brentford.
Wanderers set for test against play-off challenging Brentford
Buoyed by a recent points tally of nine from a possible 12 over the Festive period following victories over Cardiff City and Hull City at home, either side of an away win at Bramall Lane, Wanderers find themselves two places outside the bottom three.
The visit to Griffin Park signals a return to league priorities for Phil Parkinson’s Trotters following their 2-1 FA Cup third-round defeat at home to Premier League side Huddersfield Town last Saturday. Standing in Bolton’s way are a Brentford side who still harbour some hope of mounting a potential play-off challenge come the conclusion of the 2017/18 season.
Dean Smith’s Bees occupy 11th position in the second-tier, in what is their fourth campaign at this level since promotion in 2014. The West Londoners, who themselves were knocked out of the FA Cup last Saturday, a home reverse to Kevin Nolan’s League Two outfit Notts County, have lost just once at Griffin Park in the league this term, an August defeat to Nottingham Forest.
Parkinson feels his Bolton squad will cope better against Brentford than their previous fixture, which ended in a 3-0 defeat at the Macron Stadium back in September.
“When we played them earlier in the season we had a great 20 minutes and should have taken the lead but in the end they scored three fantastic goals – a free kick, and two when we opened up trying to get back into the game," Parkinson told The Bolton News. “I’ve got the utmost respect for Brentford and I think we’ve got to go there with the same attitude we had at Sheffield United. We have got to fight hard.”
Brentford wary of Bolton threat ahead of clash
Speaking to Get West London, Brentford boss Smith believes his side must be way of Bolton's threat ahead of the weekend, stating "I know Phil Parkinson and Steve Parkin and they're very experienced in this game. They've done very well at Bolton. They've had an embargo on them and they had a tough start to the season."
"We scored three magical goals to get the win and we've had a superb run of form and they have too. Their recent performances and results have shown that. They've done well at it and will fancy their chances at coming and upsetting the bookmakers," Smith concluded.
The Brentford defensive pair of Henrik Dalsgaard (ankle) and John Egan (concussion) have returned to training but are unlikely to feature against Bolton. Left-back Rico Henry remains sidelined with knee ligament damage, while Lewis Macleod is expected to be fit after a thigh issue.
Bolton have no fresh injury concerns for the trip south, though industrious centre-midfielders Karl Henry and Darren Pratley remain out. Everton loanee, midfielder Harry Charsley, who signed on until the end of the season on Friday, could make his debut.