Brentford boss not concerned by lack of January signings

Dean Smith

Brentford head coach Dean Smith insists he is not worried by his club’s lack of activity in the transfer window.

The Bees failed in their attempts to sign replacements for midfielders Toumani Diagouraga and Jota, and centre-back James Tarkowski, although they did bring in 19-year-old defender Emmanuel Onariase from West Ham.

But Smith shrugged off a disappointing January, and believes the gaps in the squad will be filled when long-term absentees Lewis MacLeod, Andreas Bjelland and Scott Hogan return from injury.

He said: “We tried to get a couple in but it wasn’t to be. It’s just one of those things.

“I feel that you build your squad in the summer and you work with them during pre-season. We’ve got an awful lot of long-term injuries coming back as well so for me it’s like having new signings anyway.

“Lewis MacLeod is back fully training and in the squad for the Brighton game, Scott Hogan and Marco Djuricin are coming back and Josh McEachran has just broken into the team.

“For me, it’s an opportunity for those players to show their worth.”

However, Smith was pleased to hang on to Alan Judge, who has scored 12 goals this season and was a target for Championship rivals Burnley and Sheffield Wednesday.

He added: “He’s a big player, not just on the pitch but in the dressing room as well. The players respect him an awful lot.

“Nobody came up with the valuation but Alan was happy to stay and we very much wanted to keep him.

“Playing in his favoured position with us and giving him the freedom that he has, he can fight his way into the Ireland squad for the Euros, and that’s a massive carrot dangling for him.”