Harrison Reed downplays Brentford’s edge over Fulham ahead of Wembley showdown

Fulham midfielder Harrison Reed says past results with Brentford count for nothing ahead of the most important game of his career, Tuesday’s Sky Bet Championship play-off final at Wembley.

The west London rivals will do battle at the national stadium to decide who follows Leeds and West Brom into the Premier League.

Brentford finished the regular season in third place and were victorious in the two meetings during the campaign, winning 1-0 at Griffin Park in December and 2-0 at Craven Cottage in June.

At the weekend Bees midfielder Emiliano Marcondes insisted Fulham were “fearing us because we have won against them two times.”

But Reed, on loan from Southampton, responded: “You can call us underdogs, you can call us favourites or call them favourites. It doesn’t really matter what has happened earlier on in the season.

“It is one game now. It is who turns up on the day and performs the best and we are full of confidence we can do that.”

A win for Brentford could earn them around £160million over three years according to sports financial analysts Deloitte, while both clubs could pocket £265million over five years if they were to secure top flight survival next season.

On Fulham’s side is experience of playing at Wembley, with several members of the squad part of the team to beat Aston Villa in the 2018 play-off final.

“We have lads who have experienced that and been there with the pressure and got the job done, so we can certainly use that to our advantage,” Reed added.

“It will be the most important game of my career and I am just looking forward to it. I have worked all my career to play at Wembley.

“I have never played there. I have had friends play there and I have spoken to them and now finally it will my chance to experience that.

Cardiff City v Fulham – Sky Bet Championship – Play-Off – First Leg – Cardiff City Stadium
Cardiff City v Fulham – Sky Bet Championship – Play-Off – First Leg – Cardiff City Stadium

“I am really looking forward to it and hopefully we can come away with the win and ultimately promotion to the Premier League.”

Aleksandar Mitrovic featured for Fulham in their 1-0 win over Villa at Wembley two years ago but missed both of the semi-final legs with Cardiff due to a hamstring injury.

The division’s golden boot winner with 26 goals has recently returned to training and was praised by team-mate Reed.

“He has been training in the last couple of days, which is great,” Fulham’s combative midfielder said.

“What a player he has been for us this season and to see him work off the pitch and reap the rewards on the pitch is something that is inspirational to everyone at the club.

Fulham v Cardiff City – Sky Bet Championship – Craven Cottage
Fulham v Cardiff City – Sky Bet Championship – Craven Cottage

“The amount of hours he puts in at the gym and at the training ground, it is no surprise he has won the golden boot this season.”

This fixture has added importance for Reed, with it being his last in Fulham’s colours before his loan ends.

After spells away from Southampton in recent seasons, the 25-year-old has a key goal in mind about where he will be for the 2020-21 campaign.

He said: “In the Premier League ideally. It is not a question I can give a straight answer to.

“My full focus is on getting Fulham to the Premier League and if we can do that, it would be an amazing achievement for the club and also for me as a player.”