Brentford will be looking to go one step further this season in the Championship, after narrowly missing out on promotion into the Premier League last term.
The Bees were beaten by Fulham in the play-off final at Wembley, and will be hoping to get off to the ideal start with a win over Birmingham City on Saturday.
It’s been a summer of change for Thomas Frank’s side, with star man Ollie Watkins recently completing a move to Aston Villa, although Brentford already have Ivan Toney as his replacement ahead of this year’s campaign.
Birmingham now have Aitor Karanka in charge of the club, and he’ll be eager to turn around their dismal run of form at the earliest of opportunities.
The Blues finished 20th in the Championship last term, and were also beaten by Cambridge United in first round of the EFL Cup last weekend.
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit David Prutton issued his thoughts ahead of the match this weekend between the two sides, and predicted a 1-1 draw, which might come as a surprise to some supporters.
“Another new era for Birmingham as Aitor Karanka comes in with aims of steadying the ship. No doubt the Blues’ support would take a comfortable season of mid-table and a bit of rebuilding.
“Brentford, meanwhile, are favourites for promotion despite the departure of Ollie Watkins – while Said Benrahma also looks set to be on the way. Thomas Frank will want his side to start better than they did last season, but I think this will be a draw.”
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I don’t agree with his prediction here.
Even without Ollie Watkins, Brentford have enough quality going forward to cause Birmingham a number of problems this weekend.
Ivan Toney is a more than good enough replacement to lead the line for the Bees, and I expect him to get off the mark against the Blues.
Birmingham haven’t been anywhere near good enough in recent months, and they couldn’t have asked for a much tougher start to the new season.
Brentford win this one in my eyes.