Josh McEachran interview: Former Chelsea midfielder talks Brentford challenge, return to fitness and QPR derby

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Image: Josh McEachran signed for Brentford this summer and is close to making his debut after picking up a pre-season injury

Former Chelsea midfielder Josh McEachran speaks to Sky Sports about his new challenge at Brentford, managerial changes and his hopes for the rest of the campaign...

Brentford were one of the surprises of last season after their promotion from League One, picking up an impressive 78 points from the 46 regular season games and sneaking into the top six, just above Ipswich Town on goal difference.

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But the play-offs were one step too far for the Bees as they lost 5-1 on aggregate to Middlesbrough. Manager Mark Warburton left and Marinus Dijkhuizen was chosen to take his place for the 2015/16 campaign.

Former Chelsea player Josh McEachran had been out on a season-long loan at Dutch Eredivisie side Vitesse, making 21 appearances for the side before returning to Stamford Bridge.

The 22 year-old was once billed as the next big thing in English football - a star of the successful Chelsea youth academy who made his debut at the age of 17 under Carlo Ancelotti in the Champions League - but appearances since for the Premier League outfit were hard to come by.

Loan spells at Swansea, Middlesbrough, Watford and Wigan followed but only Boro produced a loan of some success, McEachran making 38 appearances for the side in the 2012-13 season.

Joshua McEachran of Chelsea in action during the pre-season friendly match between Malaysia and Chelsea at Bukit Jalil Na
Image: McEachran made his debut for Chelsea at the age of 17 in the Champions League

On the hunt for more regular first-team action, the former England Under-21 international made the permanent move to Brentford this summer but has once again been hampered by an injury he picked up just a few weeks after arriving at the club.

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But, as he nears a return to action, he told Sky Sports he is desperate to nail down a permanent spot in his new side after signing a four-year contract.

"I was meant to play on Friday but I had a little bit of a set-back so about two and a half weeks and I should be back," said McEachran, speaking at an event to help celebrate London Poppy Day.

"Overall, it's been about three and a half months so it's been a bit frustrating because I only signed for Brentford in the summer but I'm not far off being able to make my debut.

"Hopefully I can go straight into the squad and I'm just getting my fitness back now. We're on a good run at the moment, we've got nine points in the last week and it's another important game this weekend so hopefully when I'm fit, I can help keep that form going and help the lads out."

After their play-off heroics last season, the start of the current Brentford campaign under Dijkhuizen saw them pick up two wins, two draws and five losses, leading to his dismissal a few weeks ago with Lee Carsley taking over as head coach.

Highlights of Brentford's 3-0 win at Charlton in the Sky Bet Championship last weekend

"I think something has changed since Lee came in," McEachran added.

"Brentford were one of the best performing teams in the Championship last season and then at the start of this season, we weren't getting the best results so there was a decision to be made about Dijkhuizen. Lee has given us all a bit of a boost.

"Everyone seems a lot more at it in training, ready to attack every game so I can't wait to get back now and help the team out."

Carsley has ruled out taking the job on a permanent basis, but McEachran believes he has what it takes to take on the job full time if he wanted to.

While I haven't had much time on the playing field with him, off the field he seems like a good guy.
Josh McEachran on Lee Carsley

"He's a Premier League legend with all the clubs he's been at and while I haven't had much time on the playing field with him, off the field he seems like a good guy," he said.

"I'm looking forward to seeing what he's like on the pitch but the way he's got the team performing since he's come in, he's looking like a decent manager."

Brentford take on QPR in a west London derby - live on Sky Sports 1 HD - on Friday and the Bees enter the game on the back of three wins in the space of a week, as well as keeping consecutive clean sheets.

"Everyone is buzzing around the training ground at the moment," McEachran said.

"We want to just keep pushing on now because the start of the season wasn't the greatest so now we're on a great run, we need to keep that form.

"Everyone's really excited about the game against QPR and it'll be my first experience of a derby here. I think going into it, the team is high on confidence after the last week of performances and results so we should win hopefully."

BRENTFORD, ENGLAND - AUGUST 08:  James Tarkowski (2nd R) of Brentford celebrates scoring his side's second goal during the Sky Bet Championship match betwe
Image: Brentford are 12th in the Sky Bet Championship table going into the clash with QPR

Three points would take Brentford above their west London rivals and into 10th in the Championship and the midfielder is confident they can challenge again this season, now they're beginning to find their feet.

"I think we just have to take it game by game," he added. "Friday is the one we have to concentrate on first and go from there but there's no reason why we can't be in the play-offs in May or even further on and into the Premier League."

McEachran was joined by team-mate Maxime Colin - as well as members of the Royal British Legion - at Thursday's charity event and admitted he was delighted to support the cause.

"We've come down to see everyone and support an important cause," he added. "It's good get out of the training ground and see what happens on fundraising days like this. It's my first time doing it so it's been really interesting and a good day so far."

Sky Bet also running a Football League shirt auction in aid of the appeal. Signed match-worn Poppy shirts from the 24 Sky Bet Championship clubs will be going up for auction in aid of The Royal British Legion. To register your interest for an alert when the shirts are on sale, visit: www.skybet.com/poppy

Watch Brentford v QPR live on Sky Sports 1 HD from 7pm on Friday night.

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