Frank expects Toney to stay at Brentford

Brentford boss Thomas Frank insists the club cannot afford to let Ivan Toney leave during this month’s transfer window.

Toney can return on 20 January after an eight-month ban for breaching FA betting rules and will give the struggling Bees a huge lift, with the club sitting just four points off the relegation zone.

Frank’s side have been plagued by injuries with at least 10 players unavailable for Friday’s FA Cup tie against Wolves, with Neal Maupay the only centre-forward currently available for selection.

Kevin Schade and top scorer Bryan Mbeumo are still sidelined with long-term injuries and Yoane Wissa is on Afcon duty with Congo.

Toney’s contract is up at the end of next season and this window would see the club command a greater fee for the striker than in the summer.

However, Frank expects the 27-year-old to still be at the club when the window closes.

“Clearly we are missing a few offensive players, so I can’t see why we should sell him. I would love to have him here for a long time,” Frank said.

“It would need to be an unbelievable price, but I expect him to be here on February 1st, so it’s not like I am worried. But I understand the football market and we can’t control it.

“With Bryan and Kevin injured, Wissa is away, imagine if something happened to Ivan? We need more than three offensive players.”

In addition to a lack of strikers, Frank is also dealing with a crisis in defence, with Rico Henry, Aaron Hickey, Kristoffer Ajer all on the long-term injury list and Saman Ghoddos, who has been filling in as an emergency right-back, also on Afcon duty, with Iran.

Frank says bringing in a left-back to replace Henry is his top priority and would consider a loan deal.

“I am convinced we will be active in the market, how much and which positions, let’s see. I think it is pretty clear we need a left-back,” he said.

“I am not always a fan of loans. I believe it is better to buy and develop players.

“But maybe in this situation we need to look at that. Everything is on the table.”