Brentford forward Joel Valencia is ready to take his chance if selected for Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-round tie against Leicester.
The Ecuadorian has struggled for game time since his switch to Griffin Park from Piast Gliwice in August and has largely been in the shadows of the Bees’ ‘BMW’ front line.
Said Benrahma, Bryan Mbeumo and Ollie Watkins have scored a combined 34 goals this season, but the former will definitely not feature against the Foxes following the death of his father earlier this week.
Head coach Thomas Frank also rotated his team for the third-round win over Stoke and is set to make some changes again with a Championship fixture, at home to Nottingham Forest on Tuesday coming up.
“You need to find your place,” Valencia said. “I found it in Poland where it was my best football and now I am here and Brentford give me this opportunity and I need to show what I can do.
“Of course everybody needs to adapt, now the front three Ollie, Bryan and Said are playing brilliant so it is not that easy to get space in the team, but I need to wait my chance and I hope it will come.”
Valencia started the 1-0 win over Stoke on January 4 and has remarkably played in the Champions League, Europa League, Championship, Carabao Cup and FA Cup this season.
He featured for Polish club Piast Gliwice in the qualification rounds of Europe in July before Bees secured his services.
A dislocated shoulder stunted his adaptation period in the capital, but the 25-year-old insists he is “really happy” at Brentford and cannot wait for the cup encounter with Leicester.
“It is a really special game and important for us,” Valencia added. “It is a Premier League team and they have important and good players. It will be nice and Griffin Park will be full, so it will be really special.”
Brendan Rodgers has helped the Foxes break the top-four monopoly this term, with a 14-point advantage over Manchester United and Tottenham, who are fifth and sixth respectively.
Frank said: “Leicester have done fantastic this season and they are building a team and club which is progressing and trying to get into the top six or top four in the table.
“So far they have been the second or third best team in the Premier League and in the modern era where there are potentially six teams that are really good, that is impressive and impressive for Brendan and his staff.”
The BBC cameras will be at Griffin Park for Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off, but Frank does not expect it to increase the expectation on his squad, who are fifth in the Championship.
He said: “Of course it means something when we are live on TV, to show what we are all about, but the most important thing is we try to do it every day on the training pitch and then we try to take it into every single game.
“Our approach to this game will not be different to any other. We will prepare, we know everything about our opponents, we have a plan for the game and we will give our maximum to try and win.”
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