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Starting and ending the season with a flourish, Brentford’s mid-season period of dismal fortunes briefly threatened their spot in the big time, but the Bees have been a very welcome addition to the Premier League and are in no mood to drop back down the divisions.
Twice Thomas Frank’s side found themselves behind against Everton through Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison, and twice they responded against the nine-man Toffees through Seamus Coleman‘s own goal and Yoane Wissa before Rico Henry headed home straight after the latter’s equaliser in a pulsating comeback win.
Posting a hugely impressive seven victories from their last 10 in the division means that Brentford are sitting pretty in 11th and still have a chance of breaking into the top 10 above Brighton & Hove Albion, while Leicester City will also be there for the taking if a major swing in goal difference occurs.
While watching their fellow newly-promoted sides in Watford and Norwich City make an immediate return to the second division, Brentford have made a name for themselves in the Premier League and have taken 10 points from the last 12 on offer at home.
Furthermore, Frank’s side have kept four successive clean sheets in their four-game unbeaten run at the Brentford Community Stadium – they are also one of only six sides to have let in fewer than 20 goals on their own turf – so the travelling Leeds faithful cannot be feeling overly optimistic about their side’s survival chances this weekend.
Brentford boss Frank has confirmed that Frank Onyeka is in with a slight chance of featuring this weekend as he battles back from an ankle issue, but no risks will be taken over Ethan Pinnock.
Saman Ghoddos and Mathias Jorgensen will also remain absent for the Bees, and Mads Bech Sorensen‘s place is at risk following his half-time withdrawal in the Everton victory.
A fit-again Sergi Canos could benefit from Sorensen’s possible absence, and Wissa has done more than enough to hold his place in the final third alongside Ivan Toney and Bryan Mbeumo.
As for Leeds, suspended duo Daniel James and Luke Ayling – the latter of whom has also just undergone knee surgery – will nervously watch on from the sidelines, as will Stuart Dallas, Adam Forshaw, Crysencio Summerville and Tyler Roberts.
Robin Koch is expected to be fine to feature despite picking up a knock, while Marsch is hopeful that Patrick Bamford could earn some minutes, albeit probably from the bench.
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Struijk’s late strike against Brighton may have given Marsch some food for thought defensively, but the Whites boss may see no reason to alter the starting formula from the penultimate matchday.
Brentford possible starting lineup:
Raya; Canos, Ajer, Jansson, Henry; Jensen, Norgaard, Eriksen; Mbeumo, Toney, Wissa
Leeds United possible starting lineup:
Meslier; Koch, Llorente, Cooper, Firpo; Klich, Phillips; Raphinha, Rodrigo, Harrison; Gelhardt