Brent­ford striker An­dre Gray backs boss Mark War­bur­ton

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Sam El­liott

AN­DRE GRAY has leapt to the de­fence of Brent­ford manager Mark War­bur­ton – and says the play­ers are in full agree­ment that he is the man to take them to the Pre­mier League.

Re­ports this week sur­faced that the Grif­fin Park boss is at log­ger­heads with the board, fol­low­ing an ar­ti­cle in The Times which stated that owner Matthew Ben­ham wants to re­struc­ture the west Lon­don club.


Punch­ing well above their weight, War­bur­ton has guided the Bees into the Cham­pi­onship’s top six af­ter win­ning pro­mo­tion from League One last term and fans are fu­ri­ous with sug­ges­tions that Rayo Val­le­cano coach Paco Je­mez has al­ready been ear­marked as his re­place­ment.

War­bur­ton, 52, is on a 12month rolling con­tract and The Foot­ball League Pa­per un­der­stands Scot­tish gi­ants Glas­gow Rangers are giv­ing con­sid­er­a­tion to mak­ing a move for him should they not make care­taker-boss Kenny McDowall Ally McCoist’s full-time suc­ces­sor. For­mer Rangers favourite David Weir is Brent­ford’s as­sis­tant manager.

The Bees is­sued a strange state­ment in re­sponse to the news­pa­per re­ports, which failed to clear up War­bur­ton’s longterm fu­ture, and added more fuel to the fire by say­ing: “Given Mark’s in­creas­ing pro­file within the game, we recog­nise that he will de­servedly have turned the heads of other clubs.”

But striker Gray be­lieves the club can­not make a change.

“It’s as sim­ple as this – the play­ers all want him to stay,” he said. “There are a lot of ru­mours go­ing around at the mo­ment and what’s be­hind it no­body re­ally knows.

“He’s told the boys to keep do­ing it for our­selves and not worry about what’s go­ing on be­hind the scenes. We’re a tight group here, we all do it for the gaffer any­way.

“We can’t let any­one or any­thing stop what we’re do­ing. The spec­u­la­tion is out of our con­trol.


“He has brought my game on mas­sively and I couldn’t be more grate­ful to him. We want him to stay here, the whole team do.

“The cel­e­bra­tion on Tues­day night af­ter my goal showed that and the fans feel it as well. That mo­ment proved how much he means to us all. Ev­ery­one.”

And de­spite ten-man Brent­ford’s late heartache against Wat­ford on Tues­day night, the brave Bees ul­ti­mately go­ing down 2-1, Gray re­fuses to give up on au­to­matic pro­mo­tion.

He added: “Is it play-offs? No. Why not the top two? We are only a few wins away and we have a lot of the sides up there to play - no­body is go­ing to win ev­ery game. Any­thing can hap­pen.

“I’m re­ally lov­ing be­ing a part of a pro­mo­tion race for a sec­ond sea­son run­ning. It’s a mas­sive jump for me but I’m en­joy­ing it. We man­aged to get the job done at Lu­ton last year so hope­fully there’ll be a sim­i­lar out­come here.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

PAIN: Brent­ford manager Mark War­bur­ton con­soles An­dre Gray af­ter the mid­week de­feat against Wat­ford, while, inset, Gray cel­e­brates with team-mates and War­bur­ton af­ter scor­ing the Bees’ goal

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