An injury to Brentford’s Rico Henry is seriously affecting Brentford at both ends of the pitch, according to EFL pundit Dean Ashton.
The left-back has had his fair share of injury problems since joining the Bees in 2016, missing long periods of his first few seasons at Griffin Park with shoulder and knee injuries.
But when he’s fit and firing, Henry is one of the top full-backs in the Championship and up until Brentford’s clash with Coventry in February, the 23-year-old has played all but one league game this season.
But in the loss to the Sky Blues, Henry suffered a torn hamstring and the initial time-frame for him being on the sidelines was two months.
Since Henry went down with his injury, the Bees have won just four times in their last 10 games – a run which has included five draws – and Thomas Frank hasn’t had a natural left-back to call upon in that spell.
Mads Bech Sorensen played there for a number of games but in the last two outings, Frank has decided to adapt his system and has played winger Bryan Mbeumo as a wing-back.
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In a match where their defensive capabilities weren’t really tested, Brentford struggled to break down Millwall and Dean Ashton believes that Henry’s abilities at both ends of the pitch are missed massively by the Bees.
“They’ve still had the firepower this season, with the main man Toney. Defensively they’ve been a bit worse, already having conceded two more goals than they did in the whole of the last season,” said Ashton on EFL on Quest.
“I think they lacked the balance today with Rico Henry missing through injury.”
It can’t be ideal for Frank with Henry being sidelined still and having no natural replacement, so he’s clearly had to get creative.
His switch to using Mbeumo as a wing-back worked fantastically against Preston North End last week, but they couldn’t fire the same against the Lions on Saturday.
If Henry has a setback and is ruled out for the rest of the season – including the play-offs that Brentford are probably going to end up in – then confidence surrounding promotion to the Premier League must be diminishing as it’s not ideal for anyone to have no left-back for such important games.