The visitors Wigan will travel to Griffin Park with cautious optimism, boosted by their own strong start to the season but wary of their opponent’s impressive home record thus far.
Another boost for the Latics could see the return of Darren Gibson and defensive stalwart Dan Burn after the international break. The Brighton-bound Burn is yet to feature so far this season after sustaining a knock in a pre-season friendly, but after re-signing the 6ft 7 man on loan until January, Paul Cook must be eager to see him in action before he makes the move down south.
Without Burn, Wigan’s defence got off to a shaky start, conceding seven in their first three league games. Since then, however, the new-look back line has improved greatly, only conceding once in the last three.
At the other end of the pitch, Wigan are unlikely to make too many changes with star man Nick Powell thankfully remaining injury free so far this season. Should last campaign’s top scorers, Powell and Grigg, fail to break Brentford down, however, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Cook turn to Callum McManaman and James Vaughan who managed to pick the lock against a resolute Rotherham side last time out. Opportunity could knock from the off for Vaughan, however, should Paul Cook choose to rest Grigg upon his return from international duty with Northern Ireland, in which he grabbed a goal for his country.
Other players out on international duty include left-back Antonee Robinson, who was called up to the USA squad for their game against Brazil after an impressive start to the season, and right back Reece James who will head off for England under 20s action.
Another potential return for Wigan could see James replaced by last season’s EFL team of the year right-back, Nathan Byrne, who has only featured in spells as he returns from a groin injury. Expecting to keep his place, will be new signing Josh Windass, who impressed throughout against Rotherham. Joe Garner could be another new addition set to feature after getting his first minutes in the side in the previous game.
In midfield things may be somewhat more predictable, with captain Sam Morsy likely to line up alongside the so far impressive Callum Conolly and Lee Evans, although with the possible return of Darren Gibson it’s fair to say that Paul Cook will have somewhat of a selection headache in near enough every position come next Saturday, should he have a fully fit squad. This though is sure to be a problem the Wigan manager will be only too glad to have.
Wigan Expected XI(4-3-3):
Byrne Dunkley Kipre Robinson
Connolly Morsy Evans
Windass Grigg Powell
The Bees will come into the game hoping to continue their 100% home record so far this season having successfully seeing off Nottingham Forest before the international break. Dean Smith will have to keep his players calm after the club were fined £5000 for failing to control their players against Forest.
Wigan will be keen to keep an eye on forwards Said Benrahma and Ollie Watkins who have been in fine form for the hosts, the latter having scored four goals this season. Top scorer Neal Maupay, however, won’t be available through suspension after he was given a retrospective ban for a stamp in Brentford’s 2-2 draw with Aston Villa.
Brentford 2-2 Wigan
There’s a great feeling around Wigan about the performance of the team so far and Paul Cook has the side playing with confidence. That being said, there’s no denying that Brentford have been formidable at home so far and the Latics would probably be pleased with a draw. Goals can also be expected in a game between two sides that have looked strong at the top end of the pitch.
Picture Credit: Wigan Athletic