Surely Sam Saunders has done enough to earn a new contract now? The pocket-sized winger undoubtedly won the points for Brentford versus Swindon Town on Tuesday with his introduction when it looked as though an underperforming Bees side, still recovering from the knock-on effect of the FA Cup replay with Chelsea, would surrender their place in the League One play-offs.
After a run of two surprising losses, Brentford took the same, unconfident form into Tuesday’s game and went into the break 1-0 down thanks to Simon Ferry’s strike on thirty-two. But Saunders injected the game with his energy and from being behind in the seventy-first minute; the Bees were 2-1 up by the seventy-sixth. Saunders started the comeback; bagging a penalty after Clayton Donaldson was brought down before the latter sealed the win four minutes later. Sam even had time to hit the bar with a trademark free-kick. A big, big win.
Fast forward to the game versus Preston just four days on and he’s done it again. After a frustrating ninety-minutes which saw the Bees have no less than TWENTY-ONE efforts on goal, Saunders won another penalty and duly converted it three minutes into injury-time; an action met by wild celebrations from the Griffin Park faithful. Never has one strike of a ball been so important; both for player and club.
I have always been a big fan of Sam, so I’m going to be a little bit biased but he just seems to have the never-say-die attitude you want in a player. Yes, he’s had an up and down season, which he admitted was ‘frustrating’ but ever since Uwe was appointed manager back in 2011, Saunders has displayed his full potential which has seen many Bees fans grow to love the ex-Dagger.
He had a stunning season in 11/12, scoring twelve goals and contributing nine assists due to Uwe’s belief in his ability and he was rewarded with a new one-year contract in February 2012 but with just three months remaining on that deal and no news of contract negotiations, Saunders’ future at the club is seemingly in the balance. This is despite a respectable return of four goals and six assists this campaign.
Personally, I think Sam has shown Bees fans what he can do on numerous occasions this season, albeit it mainly from the bench, with his performance at Crawley a few weeks back and the two victories this week the ones that stand out for me. I just hope he can stay fit because we know he can pop up at important moments and at the business-end of the season, that is just what a team needs.
To the delight of many fans, myself included, it has been announced in the press this week that Saunders is set for talks with manager Uwe Rosler within the next fortnight regarding extending his stay in TW8 (no doubt the last two outings have influenced this) as the midfielder has struggled to reach the required number of starts this season to trigger an automatic extension. And if he keeps performing like he has been, then who knows what could happen in the final eight matches? Uwe’s mind could be made up for him.
One moment of magic can be the difference between sixth and seventh and I know that given a chance, Sam will grab it with both hands and fire this club to glory at the end of a memorable season. I’ll even put money on it…
Written by Dan Long, We Are Going Up’s Brentford Blogger