Rosler faces a decision with promotion hopes in the balance

Brentford’s chances of automatic promotion are still alive.

One point from two away games – each of which the Bees dominated – has made things much more difficult.

But if they win all of their last five matches, three of which are away from home, then they will go straight up to the Championship.

However, to do that, Uwe Rosler’s side are going to have to work out the problems with their form on the road.

A glance at the full League One table shows that Brentford have the best home record in the division – but by contrast the worst away record in the top nine.

While I highlighted their poor start on their travels earlier in the season, things seem to have got worse recently.

In four of their last six away League games they have been beaten without scoring a goal – at Yeovil, Stevenage, Carlisle and MK Dons.

This followed a purple patch of seven unbeaten away league matches, which included five victories.

Top of League One
1 Doncaster
2 Bournemouth
3 Yeovil
4 Brentford
5 Sheff Utd
6 Swindon

One of the main differences between the home and away fixtures is that Brentford tend to play with two up front at Griffin Park but only one on their travels.

Often the single striker on the road is not top scorer Clayton Donaldson, who plays on the right of midfield.

In the only away game which Brentford have won since January, at Crawley, he played up front and won a penalty and also scored what proved to be the decisive second goal.

At Coventry on Saturday, Donaldson was the lone striker.

He worked really hard, never stopped running, took his usual battering from defenders, came close with a first-half lob from the edge of the area and set up the equaliser for Harry Forrester – although he did miss a gilt-edged chance to win it in the 89th minute.

That is not to blame the 21-goal striker for the failure to win at the Ricoh Arena – far from it.

His workrate was phenomenal as usual and his all-round play good, but I feel he needs to regularly play as one of a front two to get the best out of his goalscoring form.

The big decision for Rosler now is does he stick to his different formula for different matches or switch to two strikers in each of the last three away matches.

The run-in is going to be nervous and thrilling and each of the final games has something different to offer.

Clayton Donaldson of Brentford
Donaldson has played in a wide role.

On Wednesday the Bees travel to Crewe and, on Saturday, Portsmouth are at Griffin Park for the first time in more than 20 years.

Then, on the following Tuesday, there’s the rearranged six-pointer at Sheffield United, who have just announced they are selling tickets to home fans in the tier above the Bees supporters to boost the atmosphere at Bramall Lane.

The televised trip to Hartlepool follows with the 5.20pm kick-off – seriously inconveniencing lots of Brentford fans who had booked return train tickets before the time was changed.

Finally, or at least we hope finally, league leaders Doncaster are the final opponents in a match which could decide everything or nothing.

Get it wrong and Brentford will be facing the dreaded play-offs for the seventh time – having never been promoted that way on their six previous attempts.

Not too many of us want to go through that experience again.

If the Bees are in League One again next season it will be interesting to see what happens to the squad.

The hope will be that the squad will stay together for another go at promotion.

However, the rumour mill has already started with Burnley said to be interested in both Forrester and Harlee Dean.

The next three weeks are absolutely crucial to Brentford’s future.

Follow me on Twitter at @ianwestbrook



Follow West London Sport on Twitter
Find us on Facebook