Brentford's class of 2018 is very similar to the one that reached the Championship play-offs three years ago but has greater strength in depth, believes Nico Yennaris.
The Mark Warburton side that finished fifth that season was achieved with just 12 players starting over 23 games and, by the end of the season, the team pretty much picked itself. Tony Craig started 22.
It's a different set of circumstances with 27 games gone this season with 13 players starting more than 14 fixtures so far with injuries having far more of an impact on the Bees this time around.
And Yennaris believes that this Brentford team have more in reserve than that play-off side.
He said: “It's very similar to be honest. We've probably got more strength in depth in this squad compared to that one.
“I feel that team with Wolves was near enough 11 players that played every week and the odd one or two could come on and change the game.
“I feel here we've got five or six players that can come on and change the game. I think the squads are very similar with the way that we play. I feel there's more strength in depth at the moment.”
He added: “I feel there are similarities in the squads. We have different types of players compared to that squad.
“That squad had Andre Gray who is big and strong and is different to Neal Maupay and Lasse Vibe. Everyone offers something different.”
Just a look at Brentford's back four highlights the issues the Bees have faced this season. Yennaris, a midfielder, is at right back, 20-year-old Chris Mepham with nine Championship appearances in his career, is at the heart of the defence with Andreas Bjelland while Yoann Barbet, a centre back, is playing at left back.
Yennaris commented: “It shows the strength of the squad. Players are able to play out of position and do just as good a job.
“There's competition all over in the team with people stepping in elsewhere. Everyone is capable to do it.”
Mepham's performances, in particular, have impressed the fans and Yennaris believes the Welsh U21 international is getting what he deserves.
He explained: “I'm delighted for Meps. He's an honest, hard working lad who deserves everything he is getting.
“He commits himself 100 per cent to the cause. I'm delighted he's stepping in and getting a good run of games as well, performing really well.”
Dean Smith's biggest selection headache when all players are fit is, arguably, in midfield with Yennaris, Ryan Woods, Romaine Saywers, Kamo Mokotjo, Alan Judge and Emiliano Marcondes all potential picks in the middle of the park.
The Bees man added: “It's a headache I'm glad the gaffer has and I don't. It pushes all of us and we've all got to be at our best every week to keep the shirt and that's the only thing that can really come from that. It's not just the midfield. It's other positions as well.”
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