Brentford put faith in Nathan Collins for nightmare run after Ben Mee injury

Losing Ben Mee to a potential season-ending injury only ramps up the need for Nathan Collins to come good in the latter months of his first season at Brentford.

Collins has struggled to settle since his £23million transfer from Wolves in July.

That move made him Brentford’s record signing at the time, but the 22-year-old centre-back is taking longer than expected to show himself as being the “composed and calm defender” manager Thomas Frank believed he was signing eight months ago.

Collins came on in the 61st minute of Monday night’s 4-2 defeat at West Ham when Mee picked up a foot injury, and Standard Sport understands subsequent scans show Mee could be out for the season.

Ben Mee could be out for the rest of the season (Getty Images)
Ben Mee could be out for the rest of the season (Getty Images)

With fellow centre-back Ethan Pinnock only due back from a foot injury of his own after the international break later this month, Frank will place his trust in Collins.

Collins is now expected to line up against Chelsea tomorrow, most likely in a makeshift back three alongside Kristoffer Ajer and Zanka.

The Bees had tracked Collins’s performances at Wolves for an extended period before completing the deal in the summer, with Frank admiring his aerial ability, “composure and build-up play.”

But only Sheffield United goalkeeper Wes Foderingham has made more than Collins’s four individual errors directly leading to Premier League goals this term.

Two of those came in a nightmarish display in a 4-1 home defeat to his former side Wolves back in December, after which Frank saw the funny side and insisted it would be “impossible” for Collins to ever endure a worse game.

But Collins remains a highly rated defender and, at 22, time is on his side.

Brentford are only five points above the drop zone and face Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, Brighton and Aston Villa in five of their next six games.

After their latest blow in an unprecedented season for injuries, the Bees are relying on Collins to finally step up and make them hard to score against.