Ace Andre adds to price tag...
BRENTFORD manager Marinus Dijkhuizen is desperate to hang on to £8m-rated striker Andre Gray – after the forward shone again at Ashton Gate.
After Gray, wanted by Hull City, netted for the second successive Championship match, against tenman City, Dijkhuizen said: “Andre Gray showed what an asset he is to us and I am desperate to keep him. But sometimes money talks and it is not in my hands.
“If anything he has added to his value with this performance. I have two very good strikers and would love to keep them together.”
Meanwhile, City boss Steve Cotterill refused to blame Luke Freeman for the 35th-minute sending off that changed the course of a dramatic Championship clash.
The Bristol City midfielder was shown a red card by referee Keith Stroud for a high kick on Brentford defender Harlee Dean.
But his manager, who has rubbished rumours of a move for Gray, insisted the collision was accidental.
“Luke wasn’t looking at the lad as the ball came over his shoulder and I was disappointed that some Brentford players surrounded the referee,” said Cotterill, who also confirmed any potential transfer for Crystal Palace’s Dwight Gayle was now dead.
“It may have been reckless and I wouldn’t have argued with a yellow card, but Luke was looking to bring the ball down and had absolutely no intention of harming an opponent.
“I doubt we will appeal because that is often fruitless and I have no intention of talking to the referee because there is no point.
“With 11 men we were the better team. We could have been 5-1 up before the red card and it has changed the complexion of the game.
“You can’t afford to go down to ten men against a good side. We won’t be changing anything because that is the way we play.”
City came out of the blocks fast and were in front on two minutes as summer signing Jonathan Kodjia took a touch before shooting home from Luke Ayling’s pass.
Alan Judge levelled on nine minutes, firing into an unguarded net after new City goalkeeper Ben Hamer could only parry a Gray shot. But the hosts continued to pour forwards and were back in front on 23 minutes, last season’s top scorer Aaron Wilbraham rising at the near post to nod home Marlon Pack’s corner.
City defender Derrick Williams then volleyed a Judge cross from the left into his own net on 40 minutes. And there was further controversy in first-half stoppage time as Brentford centre-back James Tarkowski had to be substituted with a facial injury, claiming an elbow by Wilbraham. This time referee Stroud took no action.
The visitors came out for the second half determined to make their man advantage tell.
Alan McCormack got forward down the right on the hour and pulled the ball back for Gray to net with a fierce first-time finish from 12 yards.
Eleven minutes later Philipp Hofmann held off a weak challenge from Williams and turned to settle the outcome by firing low past Hamer.
Dijkhuizen said: “I thought the red card was justified because it was dangerous play and it certainly worked positively for us.
“Bristol City play good football and were better than us for the first 35 minutes, but I felt we made the man advantage tell in the second half.I thought we took our goals well in what was always going to be a tough game.”
IN SESSION: Alan Judge scores Brentford’s first goal on their way to an impressive result at Ashton Gate