Good first year gives Rosler plenty to ponder

Ninth in the table feels about the right place for Brentford to finish this season.

Over the course of the nine-month campaign the Bees proved they could beat most of the sides in the bottom half of the table but that they did not quite have the quality to trouble the leading teams.

In 12 matches against the top six clubs Brentford only won one – the match at MK Dons at the end of March. Apart from that they drew two, at home to the Dons and at Sheffield Wednesday, and lost the other nine.

That quality gap is something manager Uwe Rosler will have to bridge over the summer to turn his team from play-off possibles to likely candidates for the end-of-season showdown as a bare minimum in the next campaign.

At least the side ended the current campaign on a high with a 3-2 win at relegated Chesterfield.

The late play-off push petered out in April when Brentford could not beat either Notts County or Stevenage, who were both rivals for the final spot in the top six.

As it turned out, wins in both those games would have earned the Bees the final play-off spot on goal difference, although of course the season is not decided on what happens in the closing matches.

It was the lack of goals at certain times and the fact that Brentford won less than half of their home games that ultimately proved their undoing.

At one point they were the lowest scorers in the top half of the division and although there were three big home wins and things improved in the closing couple of months of the campaign, it is an issue that will need to be addressed during the summer.

As ever the close-season will see several changes to the squad.

It has already been announced that new contracts are not being offered to long-serving trio Karleigh Osborne, Marcus Bean and Sam Wood, leaving captain Kevin O’Connor as the only survivor from the squad which won the League Two title three years ago.

Central defender Osborne, who made his debut in 2005 after progressing through the ranks, was close to leaving the club to join Reading in January after rejecting a contract offer and has said he wants to play in the Championship.

Wood spent the second half of the season on loan at Rotherham and hardly started under Rosler so it was not a surprise to see the club release him.

Bean’s departure however will raise a few eyebrows as he was in the side or on the bench for most of the season.

The group of loan players have also returned to their parent clubs, although, as West London Sport reported earlier this week, Sheffield Wednesday striker Clinton Morrison is keen to turn his temporary stay into a permanent one.

There has also been talk of Everton duo Jake Bidwell, who made such an impression at left-back, and Adam Forshaw returning on loan again next season with the Toffees impressed with the way the Bees looked after their players.

Rosler, in charge of his first close-season in TW8, has said he wants to act quickly to bring in new players and added that he is already in talks with three possible new faces, while Northern Ireland international midfielder Stuart Dallas is already a confirmed signing from Crusaders.

Away from the playing side, there has been controversy over the choice of the club’s home kit for next season – with stripes being removed from the back of the shirt and white shorts and socks added.

Following feedback from fans, the club have decided to revert to their traditional black shorts and socks with their first-choice kit but the design of the shirts has remained unchanged.

Whatever the kit looks like and whichever players are wearing it, supporters will not be able to see them in action at Griffin Park until at least the middle of August.

As a result of the Olympics, no London clubs can play home pre-season friendlies and the start of the campaign has been pushed back to Saturday, August 18 – the weekend after the Games end.

By May next year, all Bees fans will hope that it is their players with gold medals around their necks.

Follow me on Twitter at @ianwestbrook