Dean Smith admits he is about as far removed from Martin Allen as you can get – but hopes he will have the same impact at Brentford.

Bees bosses past and present will go head to head on Saturday when Brentford host Allen's current club, Eastleigh, in the FA Cup third round.

While Allen was famed for taking icy dips in rivers and harbours to make points to his players, the word 'understated' could well have been invented for current Bees head coach Smith.

And whereas Allen's approach was perfect for the club at a time when it needed pulling up by the bootstraps, Smith's more measured approach reflects more stable days for the Griffin Park side.

Heart on sleeve: Martin Allen

Smith said: “I know Martin well. He's good guy and very passionate. He done very well here and will get the reception he deserves for what he did. But the only swimming I'll be doing is in my bath.

“My character is my character, it's each to their own, but even Martin has said he is calming down a hell of a lot. That was his character and I am who I am. I think you have to go and be a head coach or manager as your character fits.

“Did we need a steady hand? The club certainly the club felt so, and that's why I was appointed. I feel the ship has been steadied and is moving in the right direction. It was started by Lee Carsley and then by my own appointment.

“We're an ambitious club and want to go places but we also know you need to walk before you can run.”

Griffin Park return: Ben Strevens

With former Bee Ben Strevens heading up a heady list of ex-pros at Eastleigh, Smith, who has already said he will play his strongest possible team tomorrow, knows the potential for an upset is looming large.

He said: “It's a potential banana skin for us, and it's up to us to be very professional about it and treat Eastleigh with the respect they deserve. We were very much the underdog when Martin was here, and things have changed very quickly. It's been such a quick rise.

“You look at their squad and they're littered with Football League appearances, so they have been there and know what it's all about. We know it will be tough, there's a lot of experience in their squad and we've got a young squad.

“We know we'll have to be at it to get a result, but cup runs engage everyone at the club – the players love it and the fans love it, so although the league is our bread and butter, it's been stressed that it's important we do well in the cup.”

Potential banana skin: Eastleigh took Bolton to a replay in last year's third round

Smith has already stressed that only having two important league games in the six days proceeding their FA Cup exit to Walsall last year prevented him putting out a stronger side, but there should be no such problems this time.

He added: “We went out at this stage last year, which was horrible for me because I wanted to play a full strength team, but it was followed immediately by games against two teams (Middlesbrough and Burnley) who went on to get promoted.

“If I had played a full strength team on the Saturday we wouldn't have been able to do the same on the Tuesday and Friday. That's what I will be looking to do, and I would have done it last year if not for the circumstances.”

Keep your eyes peeled on GetWestLondon for all the action and reaction as it happens tomorrow.

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