Promotion-chasing Brentford travel to lowly Huddersfield in Saturday's televised Championship tussle. Mark O'Haire previews the encounter.
"Surprisingly, Brentford have kept their sheets clean in only three of 20 Championship contests since mid-December. Nevertheless, the Bees own firepower has led to 14 of those 20 tussles rewarding Both Teams To Score backers"
Huddersfield v Brentford
Saturday April 3, 12:30
System switch helps Huddersfield
Huddersfield calmed relegation fears with a four-match unbeaten streak (W1-D3-L0) before the international break. The Terriers' recent switch to 3-5-2 has been instrumental in helping Town turn the tide, and appears the ideal system for new signing Yaya Sanogo to flourish in, offering cautious optimism when partnered alongside Frazier Campbell in attack.
Huddersfield head coach Carlos Corberan has faced plenty of selection issues this season, particularly in the final-third, but the Terriers' treatment table is finally easing to give the hosts' options in forward areas. New signing Oumar Niasse could play a part in Saturday's showdown, whilst Danny Ward is also close to a return to full fitness after injury issues.
Corberan admitted the break will be used primarily to allow his players an opportunity to rest, refresh and reset ahead of the run-in, with wide pair Danny Grant and Rolando Aarons also making promising progress. However, Town will still be without more long-term absentees such as Carel Eiting, Josh Koroma, Christopher Schindler and Harry Toffolo.
Brentford promotion push stalls
Brentford boss Thomas Frank blamed wasted chances for ruining an otherwise "spotless" performance as his side were held to a 1-1 home draw by Championship strugglers Nottingham Forest before the international break. Ivan Toney's early penalty, his 28th goal of the season, was not enough for the Bees as Filip Krovinovic levelled just after the hour.
But Frank remained upbeat despite seeing his side drop four points in the last two games against sides in the bottom half of the table. He said: "If you look at the 90 minutes it's more or less a spotless performance. If look at the numbers, how big the chances were and how we played, it's a 4-1 win so that is what we will take away from this game."
The Dane also stoked the fires of potential promotion rivals by claiming: "Norwich will definitely win the Championship. I think it's going to be a dog fight between Watford, Swansea and ourselves for the last automatic promotion spot." Brentford are currently seven points adrift of second spot with a game in-hand over Watford. The Bees cab be backed at 4.47/2 for automatic promotion.
Brentford were 3-0 winners in the reverse and are looking to complete a league double over Huddersfield for the first time since the 2015-16 campaign. However, the Bees don't have the most promising recent record when travelling to the John Smith's Stadium. The West Londoners have posted W1-D3-L3 in their most recent seven away days with the Terriers.
Huddersfield 4.607/2 are in the midst of their equal-best unbeaten streak (W1-D3-L0) of the season and haven't managed five league fixtures without defeat since November 2019. The hosts have been competitive on home soil this term - returning W8-D4-L6 in West Yorkshire whilst also turning over both Watford and Swansea here since mid-December.
Brentford's 1.865/6 automatic promotion prospects have stalled in recent weeks. The Bees had tabled eight triumphs from nine during a remarkably impressive unbeaten streak through the winter but Thomas Frank's team have managed just W3-D2-L4 in their most recent nine outings since Valentine's Day. That includes W1-D1-L3 on their travels of late.
Huddersfield have stemmed the bleeding since their tactical switch. Having failed to keep a clean sheet in 15 fixtures, the Terriers have silenced two of their past three opponents and shipped just two goals in four encounters. Despite improvements in the back, Town have provided a final-third threat themselves, scoring in 13 of their most recent 18 matches.
Surprisingly, Brentford have kept their sheets clean in only three of 20 Championship contests since mid-December. Nevertheless, the Bees' own firepower has led to 14 of those 20 tussles rewarding Both Teams To Score 1.804/5 backers and a repeat certainly appeals at the prices coming into Saturday's showdown.
Even so, I'm more drawn to the standout 2.206/5 the Sportsbook is offering on Ivan Toney notching at anytime. The former Peterborough forward has scored 28 league goals this season, has found the net at least once in nine of his last 12 Championship games, averages a goal every 110 minutes and is also on penalty duty for the visitors.
Mark's 2020/21 Profit/Loss
Staked: 129.00 pts
Returned: 141.41 pts
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