Millwall return to Sky Bet Championship action this weekend following the second international break of the season, looking to pick up successive League victories in what is due to be the club’s final-ever trip to Griffin Park to take on Brentford.
The all-London contest is set to be caretaker manager Adam Barrett’s second match in charge, following his guidance of The Lions’ 2-1 victory over Leeds United at The Den in our previous outing. Millwall currently sit two points and two places above Thomas Frank’s Brentford in the Championship table after 11 games, with The Bees’ impressive defensive record scuppered by a frustrating attacking output so far this campaign - Ollie Watkins has scored seven of just nine Brentford League goals thus far.
This season is Brentford’s sixth of their current spell at Championship level, having earned automatic promotion from League One in the 2013/14 campaign. The club have progressed impressively since, finishing in the top half in each of their five full seasons since their return, and reaching the Championship Play-Offs in 2015. Brentford’s sole second-tier title came in 1935, recording their highest-ever League finish of fifth in the top flight the following season. The West Londoners have won the third-tier title twice, and have reached the FA Cup Quarter-Finals on four occasions – most recently in 1989.
A stop-start first quarter of Brentford’s season has undoubtedly been affected by several of the squad’s prized assets moving onto pastures new. Prolific French striker Neal Maupay joined Premier League Brighton in a big-money move, with Ezri Konsa also entering the top flight with Aston Villa. Daniel Bentley, Romaine Sawyers and Moses Odubajo were also among those to depart Griffin Park for fellow Championship sides, alongside Josh McEachran and Yoann Barbet. The Bees have recruited just as heavily, overhauling the squad with incomings such as Pontus Jansson, Ethan Pinnock and goalkeeper David Raya.
Thomas Frank took the reins as head coach at Griffin Park in October 2018 after two years as assistant to now-Aston Villa boss Dean Smith. Despite not enjoying a high-profile playing career, Frank’s coaching skills have been fine-tuned over a period of 24 years, despite only recently turning 46. The Dane’s first role came as a youth coach at his local hometown club, before 13 more years of working with various Danish clubs’ academy setups. Frank moved into national coaching in 2008, and managed several of his country’s youth sides before taking the reins of Brondby’s first team in 2013, guiding the club into the Europa League qualifiers. His experience led him to England three years later, where he now has his first Championship job that he has held for a full year.