Ollie Watkins says the “best is yet to come” from Brentford’s irrepressible front three.
Nicknamed ‘BMW’, the attacking trio of Said Benrahma, Bryan Mbeumo and Watkins have been brilliant for the Bees.
And they might well grace the Premier League next season.
Thomas Frank’s side are still in the race for automatic promotion and have notched seven wins in a row – six of them since the campaign resumed.
Watkins has been monitored by top-flight clubs for some time and Crystal Palace were interested in him last summer.
Benrahma, meanwhile, has been linked with a number of clubs, including Chelsea.
Failure to win promotion would seemingly make it tougher for Brentford to keep their best players.
But Watkins insisted: “I still feel like the best is yet to come.”
Brentford riding high
Watkins has scored 24 goals during a remarkable season.
Winger Benrahma has netted six in his past four matches – including a hat-trick against Wigan – and 17 in total this term.
Even so, Watkins said: “I still feel like there’s more for us to give.
“I say to Said a lot of the time that I still feel we can do more. We can still create more and score more.”
The reluctant striker
Watkins’ incredible success as a centre-forward has been a major factor in Brentford sustaining a promotion challenge.
A year ago he operated primarily as a wide-man and was deployed through the middle following the sale of Neal Maupay to Brighton.
Attempts to sign a replacement for Maupay came to nothing, so Watkins was asked to perform the role.
The transition could hardly have gone better and, needless to say, Watkins now considers himself a striker.
“I preferred playing wide. I wasn’t great with my back to goal and I had to make different runs,” he explained.
“I didn’t see myself replacing Neal and scoring 25 goals, to be brutally honest.
“I haven’t reached the 25 mark but that’s what Neal hit. I didn’t see myself doing that.
“At the start of the season I got put there and after a few games I started to score a few goals and feel like I quickly found my stride.
“Scoring that amount of goals was then reachable and each game I’ve played I’ve got more and more confident.
“I’m used to it now. I feel very comfortable there. I can’t see myself playing anywhere else, to be honest.
“I’ve still got a lot more to learn, but I feel like I’ve taken to it and I feel comfortable in the role.
“Everything happens for a reason. I’m glad I’ve got this opportunity. This is where I see myself playing now.”
Benrahma ‘an unbelievable talent’
Benrahma, signed from Nice two years ago, has taken the Championship by storm and is clearly destined for the top level.
The Algerian’s scoring form since the season restarted has come as no surprise to Watkins, who has long felt Benrahma is capable of adding more goals to his game.
He said: “Said’s unbelievable. Since we’ve been back he’s scored a lot of goals and I’m not surprised.
“I was surprised when he didn’t score, because I feel like he’s capable of scoring 20+ goals in this league.
“He’s an unbelievable talent and I’m glad he’s doing it (scoring regularly) now.”
Brentford’s recent run has included wins against promotion rivals West Brom and Fulham.
Those two sides meet this evening and a Fulham win put the Whites in with a serious chance of automatic promotion.
It would also mean a win a home to Preston on Wednesday would take Brentford above West Brom into second place with two matches remaining.
And while the season being paused was far from ideal, Watkins believes it has worked in his team’s favour.
“Being away from football for so long gives you that hunger,” he said.
“Everyone came back really motivated. We’ve got a good group and the break just made us more hungry.
“Since we’ve been back the mindset has been even better and we’re working even harder than we were before.”