Bidwell: Bees are up for the Championship challenge

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Up for it: Brentford defender Jake Bidwell is enjoying life in Florida Up for it: Brentford defender Jake Bidwell is enjoying life in Florida

Brentford defender Jake Bidwell is not daunted by the challenge of Championship football and is out to prove he can play at that level.

The 21-year-old, who has taken squad number three for the coming campaign, has been in impressive form for the Bees last term after making his loan switch from Everton permanent this time last year.

Boss Mark Warburton's men, who will host French side OGC Nice, Spanish outfit RCD Espanyol and Premier League team Crystal Palace in their pre-season programme, kicked off preparations for the coming campaign with a training camp in Florida this month.

And Bidwell, who signed a three-year deal in 2013, reckons the squad are relishing the prospect of testing themselves in the second tier of English football.

"When you read through the fixtures there is not really a bad one in there. It is going to tough but we are looking forward to it," he told Bees Player.

"We are going to come up against quicker, stronger and clever players. Myself and the team are just going to enjoy the challenge.

"We've got some young defenders in Harlee Dean and James Tarkowski, but the likes of Tony Craig and Alan McCormack have been there and done it before.

"It is going to be a challenge, but I'm looking forward to proving I can handle it."

Warburton's squad have been training up to three times a day in the States to ensure they hit the ground running come opening day against Charlton Athletic on August 9.

And club captain Kevin O'Connor, who is taking his first steps in a coaching role this term, reckons the hard work will pay off.

"If you make a mistake you are going to be punished at this level because the players are better," he added.

"But I expect us to be one of the fittest teams in the league - like we were last year - and with the quality we have I am expecting us to do well."

Brentford host OGC Nice on July 26, RCD Espanyol on July 30 and Crystal Palace on August 2 in their only pre-season friendlies at Griffin Park. 

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