Eddie Howe will be in the Newcastle dugout, you came up against him in a friendly back at Griffin Park in July 2019 when he was Bournemouth manager. Having been out of football for under 18 months, what are you expecting from him?
I’m expecting he is looking very much forward to that game, to finally be back in it. I think he can’t wait for the game to come around the corner. In terms of style, I expect them to be very aggressive, front-footed, high-pressing because that’s what he did at Bournemouth.
I expect them to try to dominate as much as possible on the ball and I expect his philosophy from day one to try to do it. Of course he is clever, so he will not focus on a hundred things at the first time but be very aware of making a stable side out of Newcastle so they take step by step and hopefully points after points after points, so they can get up the table where they should belong. They’re a top club, they should be higher up. The only thing I really would love to be after Saturday, so if we take three points on Saturday, then he can take all the points he wants until we face them [Newcastle] again.
Brentford’s away form has been far better than their home form, with only one defeat so far. Does that help your case?
No, that’s randomness I must say. Especially when you look at some of our performances, we shouldn’t have lost any of our home games when you look at performances and stats, but it definitely gives us some confidence that away in big stadiums against big teams, have managed to produce good performances and get points and results. We believe in ourselves, we will go in there and do our very best to go for three points with our heads up.
Julian Jeanvier was pictured in training, is he close to full fitness and could we see him in a matchday squad soon?
He’s just started training, still not full contact. He’s been out for a long time so that will still be a while.
Shandon Baptiste played in the friendly against Luton Town last week. Is he close to returning?
He is closer, definitely. He is in contention to be in the squad for the weekend.
A busy schedule coming up, with five games in the next three weeks. How important is it that you really start to pick up points to avoid getting sucked into a relegation battle?
I think that every week and every game, there’s a big opportunity to get points so the only thing I’m focussing on is Saturday – do everything we can to get three points.