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Brentford need to win promotion to the Premier League this season – or it may never happen

Brentford v Fulham Sky Bet Championship Play Off bc9696b607789bd34ace81ecaa4fad45
Brentford v Fulham Sky Bet Championship Play Off bc9696b607789bd34ace81ecaa4fad45

Alright, so maybe 'never' is a bit of an extreme way of putting it, but Brentford really do need to secure promotion to the Premier League this season if they want to avoid further years of torture in the Championship.

Thomas Frank's side have history when it comes to bottling promotion, having needed just one win from their final two games last season to notch a place in the top two, only to lose both outings – one against a frankly sub-par Stoke side and the other against a Barnsley team who only avoided relegation courtesy of Wigan's points deduction.

Brentford endured the heartbreak of a play-off final defeat to Fulham last year | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Not to worry, with easily the best squad of the four clubs involved in the play-offs, you'd have fancied them to clinch promotion at Wembley a few weeks later – only they bottled that one too.

Frank's side barely got out of second gear as Fulham ran out 1-0 winners to take their place at English football's top table.

Despite seeing a number of their star talents including Ollie Watkins and Said Benrahma picked off by Premier League clubs the following summer, Brentford regrouped and thanks to yet more brilliant work in the transfer market – something that's become a feature of the club's progression in recent years – they looked good value for promotion again this season.

You already know what's coming, don't you?

After a 21-game unbeaten league run saw them within touching distance of the Premier league, the wheels have started to fall off for the Bees once again. Just three wins from 11 and a run of four consecutive draws in their last four outings has threatened to secure their status as a Championship club for yet another year.

Thomas Frank's man are in the midst of a terrible run of form

Thomas Frank's man are in the midst of a terrible run of form | Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

But their season might not be over yet.

With Norwich's place at the top of the Championship already as good as confirmed, second place Watford are the only side Brentford have a realistic hope of catching.

Frank's man trail the Hornets by nine points, yet with a game in hand and a home clash with Xisco's side to come on the penultimate game of the campaign, if they can rediscover their form from earlier in the season they could yet achieve their dream of promotion.

So why is it so important that they do it this year?

As we've already alluded to, Brentford's transfer policy and ability to unearth hidden gems has become the cornerstone of their 'success' in recent years. However, is it really viable for a club to cash in on their prized assets every summer and keep replacing them?

Brentford will do very well to hang onto the likes of Ivan Toney
Brentford will do very well to hang onto the likes of Ivan Toney | Ashley Western/MB Media/Getty Images

Southampton were a prime example of a club who adopted a similar transfer strategy not so long ago, but without any real success – such as Champions League football – they effectively became more of a stepping stone of a football club for players.

Eventually the wheels fell off and the club were unable to keep replacing their star men with similar levels of quality, and the Saints slipped back into the days of fighting for Premier League survival – Brentford need to avoid following a similar pattern.

The success of former Brentford players in the Premier League of late makes the aforementioned scenario an even more likely reality.

The likes of James Tarkowski, Ezri Konsa and Watkins have all proven themselves to be Premier League players, while Benrahma and Neal Maupay are both forging top-flight careers for themselves as well.

Ollie Watkins has excelled at Aston Villa this season
Ollie Watkins has excelled at Aston Villa this season | Alex Livesey – Danehouse/Getty Images

Gone are the days where Premier League clubs dipping into the Championship as part of their summer recruitment was billed as bargain hunting, and Brentford are now top of the list when it comes to top teams choosing where to scout out future stars.

If the Bees fails to secure promotion this season, they're unlikely to retain the services of Ivan Toney, Rico Henry, David Raya and Josh Dasilva to name just a few, and they could be in a position where their squad is utterly decimated.

They'll undoubtedly have a transfer war chest at their disposal if the aforementioned players were snapped up, but replacing them with similar quality is far from easy, and Brentford could be set for years of struggle as they attempt a total squad rebuild.

So, it's now or never really. Over to you Brentford.

Original Article

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