Frank convinced Brentford can cope without Norgaard

Brentford boss Thomas Frank has backed his side to cope with the loss of key midfielder Christian Norgaard for Wednesday’s clash with Chelsea.

The Denmark international, 29, was forced off at half-time in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Aston Villa with an Achilles injury and will miss the trip to Stamford Bridge and possibly Saturday’s home game against Nottingham Forest.

Norgaard missed 10 games before Christmas and his absence coincided with Brentford’s three heaviest defeats of the season, when they went down 5-1, 4-0 and 3-0 to Newcastle, Aston Villa and Arsenal respectively.

But Frank believes his side, despite being winless in six matches, have the squad to deal with the loss of Norgaard, who last season topped the Premier League for the number of tackles won.

“He an issue with his Achilles. We will look at the first game without him and then we will see how he is,” Frank said.

“Christian is a key player. I do think we can replace him and do well, but David (Raya), Ivan (Toney) and Christian are three of the most important players in the team.

“How he fills the role defensively and in attack affects the way we play, but I think we have a very good replacement in Vitaly Janelt.

“He has done very well whenever he has stepped in and especially this season and other season and I am fully confident Vitaly will do a job for us.”

Centre-back Kristoffer Ajer has returned to full training but the game has come too soon for the Norway international, who might be fit to face Forest.