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Fan Focus: “Aiden McGeady scares me” says Brentford supporter Billy!

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We’re back again this weekend, this time against Brentford, and as per usual we caught up with a fan of the opposition - step forward Billy Grant, a writer and Podcaster who has an insatiable love for The Bees.

FA Cup: Brentford v Sunderland
The last time we met Brentford - an embarrassing FA Cup loss in 2006
Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images

RR: Since promotion, you've became a solid Championship club, making the play offs in your first season up and never finishing outside the top ten. How does that affect the mentality of this season? Is top ten the minimum expectation?

We started our life in the Championship hoping we would finish 21st. This season, after our excellent finish last season, we had fans (including myself) predicting we would finish in the Playoff Zone. Our stuttering start has lowered expectations somewhat. However, Bees fans are proud that their team is playing good passing football after seeing us being served up with some terrible terrible football over the years.

The fact that we went to Villa Park and played them off the park (but drew). Derby came down and we played them off the park. Boro have wads of parachute money in their pocket and they admitted that they robbed us of two points when we drew up there. When you’re used to being hearing that so called bigger teams should be beating #TeamsLikeBrentford, it’s quite gratifying when we continue to surprise teams.

We’re just happy to be here.

We would love to challenge. And would be gutted if we dropped down to Division 1 again. But we know that our team will take a while to bed in. We have some real quality in the side and if we start to click, we have every chance of making the Top 10 again this season which would be amazing.

RR: I was surprised to see Jota leave Griffin Park, in the summer. Did that come as a shock to the fans as well or were there reasons behind his departure that maybe us outsiders wouldn't be aware of?

Not really. We bought him back from the wilderness of Eibar in Spain in January. He was twiddling his thumbs out there for 18 months. His career was going nowhere.

Brentford v Queens Park Rangers - Sky Bet Championship
Jota playing for Brentford in April against QPR
Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Then he had a great four months for us. But he refused to sign a new deal with Brentford which would have meant that his contract would not have run out at the end of this season. What was most disappointing was he indicated that he would not move to another Championship side. He would only move to the Premier League.

West Ham was meant to be the club who were going to put a deal in for him. We couldn’t stop that. We were waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. The West Ham deal never came in.

Then up pops Harry Redknapp at Birmingham at the end of the window to offer him an alleged £40k a week - around five times his Brentford wage. There’s no way we could even match half that wage.

All of a sudden, his Premier League ambitions go out the window. Birmingham it is then. Cheers!

RR: Our defence loves leaking goals, so I probably don't need to look much further than top scorer Ollie Watkins when it comes to danger men. Is there anyone else Sunderland fans should be keeping an eye out for, though?

Ollie Watkins is a great player. He’s still learning as he was playing in League Two last season but he is getting better with each game. There’s a debate on our podcast as to whether or not he should be playing on the wing, as a number 10 or as a striker.

Brentford v Bristol City - Sky Bet Championship
Ollie Watkins has lit Brentford up since arriving from Exeter City
Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

We’re the type of team that when we’re on fire it’s all about the team. Not just one player. As we pass the ball around with pzazz.

Ryan Woods can command the midfield. Lasse Vibe is back from injury and would be great to see him pick up where he left off last season. Romaine Sawyers is a very clever midfielder who will string clever passes through. Henrick Dalsgaard plays right back for the Danish national team who have Ireland to beat to book a place in Russia for the World Cup. Daniel Bentley was described as the best keeper in The Championship by Millwall manager Neil Harris last week.

But as I said before, it’s about the team. When they’re on fire with their passing game, we look really good as a unit.

RR: Even though we've been hopeless this season, is there anyone in the Sunderland squad that has you worried?

Aiden McGeady scares me. He played for Preston last season and he terrorised us last season up there - scoring a couple of goals. One was a screamer if I remember rightly.

Oldham Athletic v Brentford
Lewis Grabban in his Brentford days
Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Lewis Grabban used to play for us. It was around the time that Uwe Rosler took over. He (or someone) made the decision that Grabban wasn’t good enough for us - scoring 5 goals in his only full season for us. We had just sacked Andy Scott so he took Grabban up to Rotherham with him and that was when he exploded. He hasn’t looked back since.

RR: How do you expect Dean Smith to approach the game and what do you think the starting line up will be?

We won last Saturday so it’s very likely that the starting line-up will be the same as last weekend. But saying that, maybe Smith may look at your team and tweak a few things to accommodate the way that you play.

Who knows. We’ll see at 3 o’clock on Saturday.

RR: Finally, can we have a score predication please?

Im feeling buoyant at the moment and said on this week’s podcast that I think that Brentford will carry on their good form. I’m going for a 2-0 Brentford win.

Billy Grant (@billythebee99) writes, podcasts and videoblogs for Beesotted (@Beesotted - beesotted.com). You can catch the views of Sunderland and Brentford fans on The Beesotted PrideOfWest.London podcast from 7pm after the match on Saturday.