Thomas Frank: Ivan Toney wants to give something back to Brentford

By Sports Desk January 15, 2024

Thomas Frank is increasingly confident of Ivan Toney remaining a Brentford player for the rest of the season as he prepares to make his long-awaited comeback from suspension.

The striker’s eight-month ban for breaching Football Association gambling rules ends on Wednesday, making him available for the team’s next Premier League fixture at home to Nottingham Forest.

Before that he will sit out Brentford’s FA Cup third-round replay against Wolves at Molineux on Tuesday.

There have been reports linking Toney, who made his England debut during a European Championship qualifying win against Ukraine last March, with a move to either Arsenal or Chelsea during the January transfer window.

However, with the Bees struggling in the league having lost their last five games and seven of their last eight, the manager thinks he has seen enough from Toney to indicate he intends to see out the campaign before seeking a move.

“If Ivan can write it his way, no doubt he would like to come back and do fantastically well, and give something back,” said Frank.

“He missed playing football, missed being part of the team. He will be absolutely on it and ready for Saturday.

“It’s a team he’s really enjoying being part of, with some good mates, enjoying their football together, enjoying playing for Brentford and for the fans.

“We’ve done everything we can to help him through this. We’d like to keep him, but we know how football is.

“It’s turning out to be what I would like to say is the right outcome. I’d like to keep him for as long as possible, but that’s not up to me.”

Toney has not played competitively since Brentford’s 1-0 defeat away to Liverpool on May 6, but has been permitted to train with his teammates since September.

Frank is hopeful the striker can recover his sharpness quickly in order to help the team avoid being sucked into a relegation fight during the second half of the season.

They currently enjoy a three-point gap to Luton in 18th place.

“I hope we prepared him that well that he’ll hit the ground running,” he said. “I think it’s important to remember he’s not been injured, so he’s been training and he’s very fit and ready to go.

“I’m not saying that it can’t take a little bit of time to hit the absolute max, but I’m pretty sure he’ll come in on a high level.

“Plus, the excitement and enthusiasm of finally being able to play. I think we all, no matter what low-level sport we have done, finally to do something you’re very excited about, you find some extra energy, you find an extra level and motivation.

“He’s got plenty of motivation in him, no doubt about that.”

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