In the space of 15 days, Chris Mepham has gone from being a young defender learning his trade to being considered, in the eyes of some Brentford fans, as among the first names on the team-sheet.
The Wales U21 international was a late call-up into the side against Norwich on December 22 after John Egan went down with concussion.
Having had a difficult game against the Canaries in the Carabao Cup, it gave Mepham a chance to prove people wrong, which he did with aplomb.
He reflected: “I think the fact it was a late call didn't give me enough time to think about the game. I found out before I went to warm up so had to get my mind right.
“I had it in my head that I wanted to prove everyone wrong and show what I'm about. I started that game fairly well and it's important to focus on the positives and keep my head down.”
Mepham made his mark against Aston Villa early on as he made a textbook tackle to stop former Bee Scott Hogan and that gave him the confidence to shine against Steve Bruce's expensively put together side.
He added: “It's really important and that's what I was so disappointed about in the first Norwich game giving the penalty away in the first 15 minutes.
“It's important to starting the game well. It links in today. We got complacent off the ball. It's no coincidence they got a bit of momentum to go and win the game which they did. It's important to me to keep working hard.”
Mepham was rewarded with a clean sheet against Sheffield Wednesday and that was a big confidence booster for him.
He added: “Definitely. I felt we should have got a clean sheet against Norwich away. Coming away with a clean sheet against Sheffield Wednesday, who were hoping to get promoted at the start of the season.”
The Christmas period ended on a sour note with defeats to Wolves on January 2 and Notts County on Saturday but Mepham saw some positives, especially from the former.
He reflected: “Wolves are the best side in the league and a very good team. In the first half, we matched them well enough.
“They had a couple of big chances. We stayed in the game with organisation and discipline. They brought a £15m lad off the bench.
“It was difficult in the second half but we have to think positive and we matched them for 45 minutes.”
He added: “Notts County wasn't a great result but we created enough chances to win the game. You get teams that come, sit off you and wait for the chance which they took.”
Despite those two defeats, Mepham is now highly regarded amongst Bees fans and Dean Smith faces a difficult decision when Egan does return to fitness.
“It's been a really positive couple of months. I'm playing with confidence at the minute,” Mepham said.
“My team mates been a really big help. I speak to Andreas every day about football problems.
“They're all very approachable. Nico Yennaris has been really good with me and encouraging me all the time.
“Everyone is talking to me and make me better and you can't get enough of that as a young lad coming through the team.”
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