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Preview: Blues v Brentford

The run we are in is fully deserved. It doesn't matter when the run ends because we increased our standards and we became this product.

Pep Clotet.

Our full match preview ahead of Saturday's Sky Bet Championship fixture between Blues and Brentford at the St. Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium.

Pep Clotet on how much he is looking forward to the challenge of his side taking on Brentford...
"In the moment that we are in you want games to come because I see a squad full of confidence and belief in themselves. We are all very aware of the difficulty of the game, but we all look forward to it. The focus and trust in ourselves is very good at the minute, but we have worked for it. We have highlighted areas that are very important on Saturday and we have a very clear plan on how we want the game to be and we all understand it."

Pep Clotet on the opportunity to go 10 games unbeaten if they avoid defeat to The Bees...
"In any sport it's very difficult. That just shows the strength of the squad and the belief that they have in themselves and in the work that we all do. The one thing we are experts in this season is overcoming difficulties and working under difficult circumstances."

Pep Clotet asked about Scott Hogan's impact in helping turn draws into wins for Blues...
"I think Scott Hogan has played a very important part, especially as he scored goals. But we need to remember that someone assisted those goals, and someone won that ball. It's teamwork. I'm very happy with the performances of Scott because he's made a huge impact from the beginning. But as well I'm happy with everyone else in the Club including the staff and the players is pulling in the same direction. The run we are in is fully deserved. It doesn't matter when the run ends because we increased our standards and we became this product."

Pep Clotet on his side managing to keep their first clean sheet in the league since October in their win against Barnsley on Tuesday...
"Even though I am not a defensive coach I am very happy because I think we should have had some clean sheets before. We obviously had some penalties and some situations that should have been a clean sheet.The focus has been there and I think whole back-line in conjunction with the ‘keeper against Bristol and Barnsley, played a high-level game. Most of the time we are using two strikers – if you play a 4-3-3 you end up defending with more players. This mean the team has done very well defensively, that’s a massive credit to everyone who worked hard analysing, improving mistakes, talking to the players and afterwards the same players to realise it, and show the best version of themselves."

Pep Clotet asked if he expected Brentford to be the toughest of side's recent opponents...
"Yes, they're very difficult. I know very well how Brentford play and I know their model as a club. I think Brentford could put a class out on how to run a football club. They are a product of very meticulous planning. They have an idea and pull everyone together for that idea. They have reasonable and achievable goals. They are a very competitive team who plays offensive football with the right elements because all the recruitment is spot on. At the same time they have that mix of youth as well and getting gems that you find in League One and develop them for next season and selling those players once they have developed them because you need to comply with FFP rules. And slowly they are building a new stadium, so it is clearly an example of how a football club should be run. When it comes to the team, they can cause problems to any opponents because they are very aggressive offensively. But they know how to link with important players in the team and they have a back-up way of doing it and they have three players up front who make a huge difference in the Championship. The fact they are playing now to try and reach the top two, it just says it all."

Blues team news...
Pep Clotet has confirmed that midfielder Maikel Kieftenbeld is ready for selection 10 months after injuring his ACL. Josh McEachran (ACL), Jacques Maghoma (thigh), Kerim Mrabti (hamstring) remain out.

Brentford team news...
Captain Pontus Jansson could return after missing the last month because of a hip injury.

Last five meetings between Blues and Brentford ...
Championship 03 Aug 2019 Brentford 0 Blues 1
Championship 29 Dec 2018 Blues 0 Brentford 0
Championship 02 Oct 2018 Brentford 1 Blues 1
Championship 20 Feb 2018 Brentford 5 Blues 0
Championship 01 Nov 2017 Blues 0 Brentford 2

Total meetings between Blues and Brentford ...
Blues wins: 20
Draws: 9
Brentford wins: 12

Form guide last five league games...
Blues: DDWWW
Brentford: DLWWD

Line-ups last league games...
Barnsley v Blues (4-4-2): Camp, Colin, Pedersen, Roberts, Clarke-Salter, Bellingham (Harding 88), Gary Gardner, Sunjic, Montero (Bela 69), Hogan, Jutkiewicz (Dean 86)
Subs (not used): Trueman, Crowley, Keita, Boyd-Munce.

Brentford (4-3-3) v Leeds: Raya, Dalsgaard, Jeanvier, Pinnock, Henry, Dasilva (Marcondes, 63), Norgaard, Jensen (Fosu, 89), Mbeumo (Baptiste, 89), Watkins, Benrahma.
Subs (not used): Daniels, Racic, Roerslev, Valencia

BluesTV...
BluesTV will be streaming the match live to international subscribers. Those in the Great Britain and Ireland can get exclusive audio commentary. Commentary will be provided by former Blues captain Kevan Broadhurst, alongside Jonathan Bell. Dale Moon will be joined in the studio by ex-Blues striker Dele Adebola. For more details about BluesTV, click here.

Match officials...
Stephen Martin will take charge of Saturday's game. So far this season the Staffordshire-based official has refereed 26 games, where he has produced a total of 58 yellow cards, two reds, and awarded four penalties. The last Blues game he refereed was our Sky Bet Championship home fixture against Preston North End in September 2019. Blues lost that match 1-0 and no players from either side were cautioned. He has refereed 14 Blues games in total, with Blues winning three of them, drawing five and losing six. The last Brentford game he refereed was their Championship away game against Middlesbrough in October 2019. The Bees won that game 1-0 and Brentford defender Henrik Dalsgaard was the only player from either side to be cautioned. He has refereed nine Brentford games to date, with The Bees winning four of them, drawing one and losing four. Mr Martin will be assisted on Saturday by Mark Jones and Jonathan Hunt with Scott Oldham acting as
the fourth official.

Tickets...
Tickets for this game are on general sale. For prices and purchasing details, click here.

Supporter message...
The Club urges all supporters to be responsible in their behaviour and actions. Birmingham City knows that the overwhelming majority of our supporters do not indulge in anti-social activities and are passionate about the players and the Club. We appreciate this. We adopt a zero-tolerance stance on anti-social behaviour and spectator misconduct. This includes - amongst other things - drunkenness, throwing of missiles and use and carrying of pyrotechnics (flares, smoke bombs), racist and/or homophobic chanting. Pitch encroachment is forbidden and against the law. Please DO NOT encroach onto the pitch. Any person found to be encroaching on the pitch will automatically be served with a banning order - regardless of the circumstances. It is important that bottles, coins, flares and other items not thrown at our matches. Again, we would like to thank the overwhelming majority of supporters for their backing and their understanding.

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