With Brighton & Hove Albion’s opponents for the 2015/16 Championship season now confirmed, the club’s media team will take a look at the Seagulls’ 23 opponents for the next campaign.
The fourth team to feature in our opposition focus series is Brentford.
LEAGUE POSITION: 5th (play-off semi-finals)
FA CUP: Third round
LEAGUE CUP: Second round
TOP GOALSCORER: Andre Gray (18)
2014/15 SEASON REVIEW
Brentford enjoyed a stellar 2014/15 campaign after securing a play-off place in their first season of second-tier football for 21 years.
The Bees did not have the best of starts to life in the Championship following a 1-1 draw with Charlton on the opening day of the season, before a narrow 1-0 defeat to eventual champions Bournemouth at the Goldsands Stadium.
Sandwiched between those two games was a record-breaking 6-6 draw with League Two Dagenham & Redbridge in the League Cup - the highest-scoring game in the competition’s history. It was a match which the Bees eventually won 4-2 on penalties, with Kevin O’Connor scoring the winning spot-kick.
The Bees were knocked out of the competition in round two at the end of August, as Ross McCormack scored the only goal of the game to ensure Fulham edged out a closely-fought West London derby.
Brentford continued their inconsistent start to the season throughout September and October, before recording five wins out of five in November - including 2-1 and 4-0 wins over Derby and Wolves respectively at the beginning and end of the month.
The club fell at the first hurdle in the FA Cup as late goals from Lewis Dunk and Chris O’Grady gave Brighton & Hove Albion a 2-0 victory in round three.
The Bees proved their play-off credentials with 2-1 and 3-1 wins at Norwich and at home to Bournemouth respectively, but focus turned to off-the-pitch matters when Mark Warburton announced he would be stepping down as manager at the end of the season.
Despite this, Brentford claimed fifth place on the final day of the Championship season following a 3-0 win over relegated Wigan.
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LAST TIME WE MET
Albion’s three-game winning streak came to end when Brentford left the Amex with a 1-0 victory in January.
The Seagulls started the match well as early chances fell to both Inigo Calderon and Solly March, but the Bees took the lead in the 29th minute through Andre Gray.
The Bees’ top scorer saw his effort take a wicked deflection off Joe Bennett and looped over the reach of David Stockdale to ensure the West Londoners claimed all three points.
The Seagulls also ended the match with ten men as Lewis Dunk was shown a second yellow on the hour mark for a push on Ramallo Jota.
Albion line-up: Stockdale; Calderon, Greer, Dunk, Bennett; Holla, Ince; March (O’Grady 72), Forster-Caskey (Colunga 57), Baldock (Halford 62); Mackail-Smith.
Subs not used: Walton (GK), Bruno Hughes, Teixeira.
Brentford line-up: Button; Odubajo, Dean, Tarkowski, Bidwell; Douglas; Peleteiro Ramallo (Toral 74), Pritchard (Saunders 89), Diagouraga, Dallas (Smith 78); Gray.
Subs not used: Bonham (GK) Craig, Tebar, Yennaris.
Marinus Dijkhuizen was appointed Mark Warburton’s replacement in the Griffin Park hotseat after holding the same position at S.B.V. Excelsior in Holland since January 2014.
The former striker played for a number of clubs including Dunfermline in the Scottish Premier League and for FC Utrecht in the Eredivisie - the Dutch top flight.
His coaching career started at 'S-Gravenzandse SV and he successfully managed fellow non-league sides vv Montfoort and vv De Meern, leading the latter to back-to-back promotions.
He also worked at Utrecht as an attacking coach and helped guide them to a Europa League place.
Marinus took over at Excelsior nearly 18 months ago and led them to promotion to the top division in his first half-season at the helm.
Last season the club achieved their highest league position for nearly 30 years - finishing 15th in the Eredivisie.
Brentford did remarkably well in the last campaign to finish in the play-offs and it would be fair to say that the Bees overachieved following their promotion from League One in 2013/14.
Another season challenging for a top six place is not out of the question, but a lot will depend on how quickly Brentford’s squad adapt to a fresh approach under Marinus Dijkhuizen.
There is also increasing speculation that last season’s top scorer Andre Gray could leave the club, with Queens Park Rangers keen to bolster their attack in a bid to secure an immediate return to the Premier League.