Ace An­dre adds to price tag...

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Richard Latham

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.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

IN SES­SION: Alan Judge scores Brent­ford’s first goal on their way to an im­pres­sive re­sult at Ash­ton Gate

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