Championship odds and tips for Saturday afternoon's clash between midtable Preston North End and promotion chasers Brentford.
There was a point a couple of months ago in which Brentford looked set to go one better than last season's near-miss with promotion by going into the second half of the campaign with real momentum, briefly going top and spending eight successive gameweeks in the top two. But Thomas Frank's Bees - as was the case when promotion was in their grasp at the final hurdles last season - have struggled to produce results with the pressure on and their fate in their own hands, with their form dropping off a cliff over the past six weeks.
Brentford went into their Valentine's Day clash at home to Barnsley on a run of 20 games unbeaten and eight wins in their last nine in the Championship, but they lost 2-0 at home to the South Yorkshire outfit and the defeat appears to have knocked them totally off course - that was the first of three successive defeats, and it's now just three wins from the last 11 outings, with Tuesday's goalless draw against relegation-battlers Birmingham their fourth consecutive draw. Having fallen nine points behind second-placed Watford, automatic promotion now looks beyond them and the focus must be on consolidating their place in the play-offs.
Preston, meanwhile, had looked like drifting for the remainder of the campaign, in which long-serving coach Alex Neil was sacked following a run of one win in nine matches. The pressure's off for caretaker boss Frankie McAvoy, and he's delivered a couple of impressive results so far - on Good Friday they mustered a 1-1 draw against runaway leaders Norwich City, albeit against the run of play and on Easter Monday they dug deep and managed a smash-and-grab 1-0 away win at promotion-chasers Swansea, with their match-winning goal coming in the 91st minute courtesy of a Matt Grimes own goal. They haven't been entirely convincing going forward with a new face in the dugout, but they have at least defended stoically in back-to-back games over the Easter weekend.
Results between these two side have tended to yield mixed results in recent years; Preston won 4-2 in the reverse fixture back in October and have won three of the last six meetings, with Brentford winning two and one draw. The Bees have also lost on three of their last four Championship visits to Deepdale.