Frank insists Bees are still eyeing automatic promotion

Thomas Frank has insisted Brentford are still very much targeting automatic promotion to the Premier League as they enter the season’s run-in.

The Bees trail second-placed Watford by seven points, although they have a game in hand on the Hornets – and play them in their final home match of the season.

“We are going for the top two, 100%, I can’t see a reason why we wouldn’t with nine games to go,” the Brentford head coach said.

“We are not going to die if we don’t achieve the top two as we will go into the play-offs, and we saw what we are capable of doing last year, so we will be in a good place no matter what.”

Frank believes his team will go into the final five weeks of the season refreshed after the international break – the players who represented their countries, those who stayed behind and also himself.

“In the first week I took some time off,” he explained.

“Of course we couldn’t travel anywhere so I just stayed in my house, relaxed and got ready for the run-in, but the good news is that I have some fantastic staff who did a good job with the boys.

“I definitely needed to make sure that I recharged the batteries – it was needed, so I am ready to go again.

“The players had the opportunity to rest a bit over the weekend with four days off, which was really needed and good for them.

“It was tough for the internationals, but they changed to a different environment, have seen old friends and good friends playing for their country so from my perspective, that always brings them energy.

“This week has been unbelievable, fantastic to actually train on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. I really enjoyed that.”

Frank said all of the players who went away returned unscathed and that everyone who was available for the game against Nottingham Forest is fit for Saturday’s game at Huddersfield.

He added that Emiliano Marcondes was now ready to play a bigger part.

“Emiliano had that injury, “ said Frank. “I know he has played and come on the pitch in the last games, but especially this week he trained very well, looked sharp and back to his normal level, so he is a player that we can use both from the start and also as a super-sub.”

The Bees boss used the experienced right-footed duo of Pontus Jansson and Winston Reid as his centre-half pairing in the last two games against Forest and Derby.

Left-footed Ethan Pinnock is pushing for a return to the starting line-up after making his international debut for Jamaica against the USA last week.

Frank said: “Yes I definitely have a nice challenge there. I have three good centre-backs – more actually – because now Mads Bech is playing left-back. I think he has played an unbelievable season for his age, just growing and growing.”