Brentford hope secret weapon Darren Pratley can keep alive their hopes of a much-needed FA Cup run when they visit Oldham in the second round this Saturday.

The on-loan midfielder scored twice in last Saturday's 3-1 league win at Scunthorpe to double his season's tally.

His runs from deep positions could make him a bigger threat to Oldham than the strikers they know more about, Lloyd Owusu and DJ Campbell.

Pratley's loan from Fulham is due to end in January, but manager Martin Allen has asked if it can be extended until the end of the season.

He has created enough money to pay Pratley's extended wages by loaning club captain Michael Dobson to Reading for two months, after allowing striker Scott Fitzgerald to join Oxford United in a similar deal last week.

Pratley's new midfield team-mate Ricky Newman is also proving an inspiration since recovering from the knee operation which kept him side-lined for the first three months of the season.

Allen said: "Pratley and Newman are important players for us.

"Pratley's finishing is out of the top drawer, and he has now scored three goals in three games, while Newman offers experience and know-how."

Of the victory over Scunthorpe which stretched Brentford's unbeaten away run to six games, Allen declared: "It was a fantastic team performance the best since I became manager."

Brentford had to come from behind after Ritchie Ryan's corner was headed home by Joe Goodwin in the eighth minute.

Three minutes later Paul Brooker's free-kick was only half headed clear and Pratley volleyed home from the edge of the box.

Pratley scored again in similar fashion after 24 minutes.

Republic of Ireland U21 star Jay Tabb's free-kick was punched away by Paul Musselwhite, but only to the feet of the on loan Fulham star.

Without any hesitation he volleyed the ball into the back of the net.

Musselwhite saved Tabb's point blank range header, but could do little after 52 minutes when Tabb's cross was not cleared and Brooker volleyed home from inside the box.

Owusu, Brooker and Hutchinson missed chances to extend the lead and things became even worse for the Irons when their goalscorer Goodwin received two yellow cards in three minutes.

Brentford: Nelson; O'Connor, Turner, Sodje, Frampton (Tillen 73); Brooker, Newman, Pratley (Hutchinson, 73), Tabb; Owusu, Campbell (Rankin 83). Subs not used: Lewis, Bankole.

l Brentford are at home to Yeovil in the league on Tuesday (7.45pm) when long-term injury victim Alex Rhodes could make his comeback.