Brentford Football Club
After reaching the playoffs last season, being narrowly beaten over two legs by eventual winners Sheffield Wednesday, the West London side made themselves known to a lot of people who considered Chelsea, QPR and Fulham to be the only strong sides in that section of the capital.
Recognised not only for their excellent work the league but for an FA Cup run which was only ended by a superb Southampton side in round six, led by manager Martin Allen Brentford proved themselves to be a team for the duration.
Strengthening in the off season bringing in ex-Reading players Brooker and Newman as well as former favourite Lloyd Owusu, Allen believed his boys could make the grade for a second season running. In 2004/05 Brentford's strength was their strength as time after time the Bees physically imposed themselves on their opponents. Playing to their strong points Brentford's direct approach suited the players who played within it.
This year with Allen exchanging experience for ability and strength the ex-West Ham players tactics have changed, once again building on the defensive security provided by the excellent Sam Sodje, the midfield is now full of footballers capable of taking the game to their opponents.
Using willing runners in Tabb, Pratley and Brooker playing short balls and allowing more dribbling is as effective as playing of targetman Owusu then using the speed of nippy midfielders and quick frontman DJ Cambell.
Working as a unit Brentford have no real 'stars' in the team, compaired to the Trundle's, Eastwood's and Tyson's of their opponents, their ability to call on youth in Ryan Peters, John Mousinho and Karleigh Osboure demonstrates exactly what the club is all about.
This also gives Allen's men strength in depth and increases hope of gaining promotion or at least making a charge for the Championship in May. The work ethic of the team is high and playing as a unit rather than individuals is an excellent choice by the manager. This can be demonstrated that currently Kevin O'Connor is the clubs top scorer despite being a defender.
Allen also has a talent for spotting gems in the lower divisions, a must for any non Premiership manager, picking up goalkeeper Nelson and Nigerian Sodje from the non-league. All in all this bodes well for his management career at Brentford or awya from Griffin Park.
During the summer job offers came in but during the Summer thankfully for the club Allen resisted all temptations to leave instead staying to finish what he has started to build and insisting that if he goes on to manage at a higher level, it will be in charge of his present club.
Fortress Griffin Park as they key to their success last year but this years teams know what to expect and Brentford's style of posession football is more suitable away from they home ground.
Making the playoffs once again is a real possibility for Brentford and timing their run at the right time and balancing a potential FA Cup run will be crucial, not being blessed with the biggest squad Allen will havce to hope for some luck (or a magic healing physio) if Brentford are to reach the promised land in 2006.