Thomas Frank is not yet ready to talk about Brentford cracking the Premier League’s top half, having been in the thick of a relegation battle prior to a strong recent run.
Brentford could climb into the top 10 by beating Watford on Saturday – a result that would extend their winning streak to three matches. The Bees won two of the three before that, too, turning their season around just when they looked to be in trouble at the bottom end of the table.
Frank acknowledges Brentford are full of confidence but believes the best way to approach their remaining fixtures is to remain focused on the task at hand.
“It’s funny sometimes how the narrative changes in football,” he said. “One of your strengths this season is that we have been focused. We just want to go out and play with that confidence.”
And Frank expects a test from struggling Watford, claiming they were “unlucky” in losing 3-0 to Leeds United last time out.
“I expect them to come flying out,” Frank said.
Watford boss Roy Hodgson considered that Leeds defeat a missed opportunity but is retaining hope ahead of this match.
“We knew Leeds were going to be hard to beat and we know Brentford are going to be hard to be beat, but the opportunity exists for us,” he said. “We are fully aware that unless we start getting three points from some of these games, we are going to slip even further behind.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Watford – Ben Foster
Watford have leaked goals throughout their miserable losing run at home. While they need wins, a point would be a start – and a rare clean sheet for Foster would at least guarantee one of those.
Brentford – Bryan Mbeumo
Mbeumo’s goal against West Ham last week was only the fourth of his season, but his assist in that match was a fourth in just three matches. He could become only the second player – after Chris Waddle at Sunderland in 1997 – to provide assists in four consecutive matches for a promoted Premier League side.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Watford have lost their past two league games against Brentford, as many as they had in their previous 16 (W9 D5). They last lost more consecutively against the Bees between 1929 and 1931 (five).
– Brentford are looking to complete their first league double over Watford since 1976-77 in the fourth tier. However, they are winless in their past seven league visits to Vicarage Road (D2 L5).
– Watford have lost their past nine home Premier League matches and could become only the third team to lose 10 consecutive top-flight home games in a row, after Birmingham City in February 1986 and Sunderland in August 2005. Birmingham are the only top-flight team to lose 10 in a row within the same season.
– After picking up just four points in an 11-game run between December and February (W1 D1 L9), Brentford have won four of their past five Premier League games (L1) and are looking to win three in a row in the top flight for the first time since September 1946.
– Watford have suffered 12 home Premier League defeats this season, with every other top-flight team to lose 12 or more in a single season going on to be relegated (20 previous occasions). Only 32 per cent of their points this season have come at home (seven of 22), the lowest percentage by a team in an English top-flight season in history.