2:45pm Thursday 12th May 2005
By Mike Flynn
BRENTFORD manager Martin Allen says that Sheffield Wednesday will be overwhelming favourites when the two sides clash in their play-off semi-final.
But he has backed his players to cause an upset in the two-legged match that begins tonight at Hillsborough with the home leg on Monday night.
He said: "With 23,000 supporters, they are overwhelming favourites. Sheffield Wednesday are favourites to win this tie.
"But we're going to make the very best of these two games. We've got an incredible desire.
"There's no doubt it's going to be a tough task but we will cope with it and we will give it our very best."
It's a remarkable achievement for Allen in his first full season in charge at Griffin Park. Just 12 months ago the club only escaped relegation on the last day of the season.
And the manager immediately began to plot the promotion course.
He said: "In my heart, at the end of last season I set myself a target that we would challenge for sixth place.
"What I didn't expect was the improvement and the development so soon of so many players."
As well as developing current players like Jay Tabb and Kevin O'Connor, Allen also brought in established ex-internationals like Deon Burton and John Salako.
And he showed that the depth of talent at the club in Saturday's final league match of the season against promoted Hull.
Almost the entire first team were rested and three players Jerrome Sobers, Darius Charles and Karleigh Osborne were handed debuts in the 2-1 victory.
And Sobers marked his first start for the club with a goal after a close-range header five minutes before half-time.
Bees had gone behind after just two minutes when Leon Croft found the space to nod home at the far post.
And Brentford keeper Ademola Bankole had to be alert to tip round an effort from Craig Fagan.
But the winner came five minutes from time when Tabb picked the ball up on the right, turned inside his marker and unleashed a left-footed drive.
Brentford were already guaranteed a place in the play-offs but Saturday's victory meant that they finished in fourth place in the table and guaranteed them a home match in the second leg.
If they secure an aggregate win over Paul Sturrock's side, they face either Tranmere Rovers or Hartlepool in the play-off final in Cardiff on May 29.
Before the game, Kevin O'Connor was named as the Most Improved Player of the Year while Michael Turner won players player of the year.
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