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Brentford boss warns his men of Sunderland’s character and quality – after stunning Bristol City comeback

Brentford's Neal Maupay (left) and Josh McEachran battle against a blue-clad Sunderland in October's 3-3 draw at Griffin Park. Picture by Frank Reid
Brentford's Neal Maupay (left) and Josh McEachran battle against a blue-clad Sunderland in October's 3-3 draw at Griffin Park. Picture by Frank Reid
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Brentford boss Dean Smith has warned his players not to underestimate lowly Sunderland in tomorrow’s Championship clash at the Stadium of Light.

The second-bottom Black Cats’ impressive fightback to rescue a draw in the final 20 minutes at Bristol City last week has been noted by the Bees’ boss.

And Smith has pointed out the potential dangers to his team ahead of the London club’s first visit to Wearside since 1992.

“They’ve obviously got a lot of character in the team,” he told brentfordfc.com.

“It’s common knowledge that their home form hasn’t been great this year and we’re hoping to capitalise on that.

“Bristol City are a good team, so to go 3-0 down at Ashton Gate and come back to earn a draw shows that they’ve got plenty of quality.

“We have to be very wary of the threat that they pose.”

Brentford are in 10th place going into the game, eight points adrift of the play-off places and 16 clear of trouble.

“Whenever we play away from home our plan is to get on the ball and frustrate the opposition,” added Smith.

“Their fans might be expecting to see a win due to the size of our club, but we’re hoping we can go there and show what we’re about.

“Chris’s (Coleman) appointment took a lot of people by surprise because he’d done so well with the Welsh national team. He will believe he can turns things around and get the club back to where their fan base believes they should be.”

A push for the play-offs is Brentford’s target for the remainder of the season.

Former Walsall boss Smith, whose men had to come from behind to hold Preston to a 1-1 draw last week, said: “Every time you don’t win it becomes a bit harder – particularly when the teams above you are picking up points – but we’ve always focused on the next game.

“Our ambition at the start of the season was to finish inside the top six and there’s no reason for that to change with 15 games to go.

“The outcome of the last couple of games has been a bit disappointing, but the performance levels have been good and that’s all we can control.

“We believe that the football club is progressing very well. The team has been consistent this season but we haven’t got the wins that our play has deserved.

“There’s a lot of good players in the group; last week I was forced to make three changes, but it didn’t change the shape, the way that we played or our performance levels. There’s still plenty to play for.”

The Bees are at full strength, with centre-back Chris Mepham fit after a bout of illness.