Sky Sports EFL pundit David Prutton has suggested that Bournemouth will be the team no one wants to face in the play-offs, while he also predicted them to overcome top-six rivals Brentford on Saturday.
Jonathan Woodgate’s side have been in fine form in the last few weeks, with the Cherries having managed to secure an impressive seven successive wins in the Championship. That has seen them rise up to third place in the table and has cemented their place in the play-offs. That is something that looked far from certain when they lost 3-2 against Barnsley.
Bournemouth will be aiming to continue their momentum in the Championship in their remaining matches and try and finish the campaign on a high. This game represents a chance for them to secure a win against a side that they could well have to face again in the play-offs and could therefore serve as a psychological booster for the Cherries.
Brentford, meanwhile, are in a different frame of mind with the Bees having seen their chances of a top-two finish all but come to an end thanks to a run of six draws in their last seven Championship matches. That suggests that Thomas Frank’s side are still as hard to beat as ever, but are now struggling to take chances in the final third and kill off matches.
The Bees will be aiming to secure a morale-boosting win here against Bournemouth and potentially keep alive their automatic promotion hopes for another game. However, the three points would be more worthwhile to show that they are still a force to be reckoned with ahead of the play-offs.
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Making his latest round of predictions for Sky Sports, Prutton suggested that the Cherries have established themselves as the team to avoid in the play-offs now following their recent form. While he also expects their winning run to be extended with a 2-1 win against the Bees.
He wrote: “Bournemouth are back up and around where we expected them to be, and have been a very enjoyable watch lately. They will be the side no one wants to meet in the play-offs on current form.
“Both sides do still have a very slim chance of finishing second, but you feel it is more a case of getting ready for what’s to come. This will be a very good match-up, but I fancy the Cherries to edge it.”
It is hard to disagree with Prutton’s assessment here and Bournemouth might well have too much momentum for Brentford to cope with tomorrow. It has been a remarkable run of form for the Cherries and has shown that they have the quality in their squad to have perhaps pushed themselves closer to the top-two than they have been able to this term.
The Cherries on current form might have too much for Brentford, although having said that if anyone can stop their winning run it will be the Bees who have been on an unbeaten run themselves. Therefore, this is going to make an interesting rehearsal for a potential clash in the play-offs in the next few weeks.
Whoever wins this game will have some real belief and momentum to take into the play-offs, you feel if Brentford can win then suddenly, they could re-find their form and belief and be a different proposition in those play-offs. It is therefore a big game you feel for Frank’s side.