Thomas Frank says mental resilience will be just as important as physical recovery for his Brentford side when they welcome Stoke City to Griffin Park in the FA Cup third round this weekend.

The Bees have been in fine form over a busy festive period, winning four of their last six against Cardiff, Fulham, Swansea and most recently Bristol City on New Year’s Day to leap to third in the table despite having little recovery time between most fixtures. 

But for Frank that’s not the worry – he says his players need to remain mentally tough and not take the strength of struggling Stoke for granted if they want to progress to the fourth round. 

“We’ve had a really busy schedule and compared to last year we’ve had one day less recovery for the FA Cup game, which means a lot,” said the Bees boss. 

“This will be the fourth game in a row with only two days between each game. Of course I’m going to rest some players but I’m looking forward to seeing the team perform tomorrow. 

“I think in general it’s mainly mental, of course it’s also physical but you have to keep pushing and keep going. 

“The team is looking really good. We’re ready to attack and progress to the next round.”

Unlike Brentford, Stoke have struggled thus far this campaign, registering just seven wins from their 26 fixtures to sit just one point above the relegation zone. 

The two sides played out a goalless draw the last time they met in September, but with Michael O’Neill now in the hotseat and the magic of the cup at play, Frank knows his players have to be prepared for anything to happen. 

“Stoke have progressed and are a lot more stable now,” he added. “I think they will say that they still need to be 100% safe in the Championship to make sure they don’t get relegated, but I’m sure they’ll try for a cup run too. 

“I’ll see 75 minutes before kick-off what kind of team they’ll put out there, but we are prepared. 

“We are pleased, but not satisfied with where we are at this moment in time. We need to keep focusing on working harder and playing better football every single day.”