Tonight, Mark Warburton will bid farewell to Griffin Park when his Brentford side lock horns with Middlesbrough in the first leg of their Sky Bet Championship semi-final first leg.Warburton oversaw promotion from Sky Bet League 1 last term, and now has the Bees knocking on the door of the Premier League after a fifth-placed finish on their return to the Sky Bet Championship.
If Brentford navigate their way past Boro, and then succeed at Wembley, they will be back in the top flight for the first time since 1947. But Warburton won't be in charge as he's leaving the club at the end of the season, regardless of how they fare in the Play-Offs.
That's not to say he isn't embracing the challenge of the end-of-season showdown.
“We have earned this opportunity so we must relish it and not look back and say if only I had done this,” the 52-year-old told the club's official website.
“We want to go and enjoy the challenge and see how we fare. From our point of view we don’t care who we play. We are in the Play-Offs and we are looking forward to it.
“We are fit, ready for the challenge and hopefully we will deliver a good performance.”
The first leg against Boro will be Warburton's 38th home game at the Brentford helm.
His tenure at Griffin Park started with a 1-0 victory over Oldham Athletic in Sky Bet League 1, courtesy of a last-minute winner from Jonathan Douglas.
Since then, Warburton has posted an impressive 67.5 per cent win rate on home soil. Here's the full record:
Brentford under Mark Warburton at Griffin Park (10th December 2013 to present):
P37 – W25 – D7 – L6 – W% 67.57
That scintillating home form has contributed to a superb overall record since Warburton took over from Uwe Rosler in the dugout.
Brentford under Mark Warburton overall (10th December 2013 to present):
P76 – W40 – D16 – L20 – W% 52.63
Middlesbrough have been a thorn in those records - two of Warburton's 20 defeats have come this season at the hands of Aitor Karanka's side (4-0 in the north east and 1-0 in London).
If Warburton can turn the tide against the Teessiders and sign off in West London with a 41st win of his Bees' reign, it will be their first victory over Boro since a 1964 2-1 FA Cup success, which of course came at Griffin Park.
Previous in the Play-Offs
Brentford have taken part in seven Play-Off campaigns and all have been unsuccessful. The Bees have lost three Play-Off Finals but all of those were in the third tier, against Crewe Alexandra (1996/97), Stoke City (2001/02) and Yeovil Town (2012/13).
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