Wow – what a first month of the season it was at Griffin Park.
A dozen new signings, a superb performance against Sheffield United, the weakened side at Derby, Marcello Trotta’s return and a slight wobble in form – and we are less than six weeks into the campaign.
It was a long summer for Brentford fans recovering from the heartbreak at the end of last season, but by the time the pre-season friendlies started, there was a renewed sense of optimism in west London.
Adam Forshaw and Harlee Dean had both signed new three-year contracts and Harry Forrester was the only major departure.
In addition, some impressive new signings had been made including Will Grigg and Alan McCormack.
Although Simon Moore also left before the big kick-off, two away draws and two home wins, including the victory over the Blades, continued the upbeat mood – but it has been a mixed couple of weeks since then.
Two issues divided the supporters, especially on the messageboards, and they were the line-up in the second-round Capital One Cup tie and the re-signing of the man whose missed penalty cost Brentford promotion on the final day of the regular season.
The 700+ Bees fans who travelled to Pride Park knew the side fielded against Dagenham in the first round of the League Cup, which showed 10 changes from the opening League game.
But the feeling was that there may be fewer changes for this match, given the level of opposition.
However, another 10 alterations against an almost first-choice Derby side led to a 5-0 hammering and early exit from the competition.
Although the first team returned for the league game against struggling Carlisle – a disallowed goal apart, the Bees failed to put the ball in the net as they were held to a 0-0 draw by a team who had shipped 22 goals in their previous six matches.
Deadline day saw Marcello Trotta return to TW8 determined to make amends for what happened in April, although some supporters were not pleased to see him back.
The reception he gets in his first home game, against Leyton Orient on Monday week, will be interesting to see although he received praise from fans for his contribution at Bradford before he was substituted.
The game at Valley Parade, which followed the hugely entertaining 5-3 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy win over AFC Wimbledon, was the most disappointing day of the season so far.
The question now is how the team bounces back.
It is far too early to press the panic button yet – after all we are only six games into the new season.
Major players from last season in Jake Bidwell and Jonathan Douglas have been out with injury along with new signing Conor McAleny, who tragically broke his leg against Walsall.
Only six of the side which started the play-off final in May began the Bradford game so there is clearly still a settling-in period for the huge number of new players.
But there are some slightly concerning issues to think about.
Half of the six league games so far have been drawn, including two of the away matches – and too many away draws last season was one of the reasons promotion was missed.
And goalkeeper Jack Bonham has not enjoyed the best of starts to his Brentford career, which could well have affected his confidence.
The question now is will Uwe Rosler try to bring in an experienced keeper for a month to step up to cover for the suspended David Button or allow Bonham to try to play through it.
On the positive side, crowds appear to be up both at Griffin Park and in the numbers of supporters following the team to away games.
The next four matches, against Tranmere, top-of-the-table Leyton Orient, Coventry – who would be in the play-off zone without their points deduction – and fourth-placed Rotherham, will take the Bees to their 10th game of the season.
And that will be the time to properly judge the team’s start.
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