Since Mark Warburton left Griffin Park in 2015, Brentford’s seasons have generally followed similar patterns.
The Bees have played sufficiently high-quality football to challenge for the Play-Offs, but perhaps lacked the adaptability, tenacity and strength in both boxes to make inroads into the top six.
The West Londoners’ first full season under Thomas Frank, though, could be different; despite having been on the coaching team during the previous regime, the Dane has made some pragmatic tweaks in his 10 months in charge.
Frank’s troops entered the final Saturday of August with a modest four points from five games; they would have accumulated more had dominant displays against Birmingham and Charlton been rewarded, rather than ended in 1-0 defeats.
The 3-0 victory over Derby though, not only lifts Brentford up to 13th – three points off the embryonic top six – it also gives them confidence that they can challenge.
Brentford began 2017-18 in similar circumstances – dominating games without killing teams off – and were winless in eight, but then the 3-0 win at Bolton sparked off a nine-game unbeaten run.
Frank will hope the thumping of the Rams by the same scoreline can have a similar impact.