Brentford manager Thomas Frank has claimed that Ivan Toney will be named in his starting lineup at the weekend. The star striker has been sidelined since May due to a lengthy gambling suspension. Toney was previously convicted of breaching the FA’s betting laws over 200 times during his career.

The England international was initially barred from the Brentford team for the first four months of his suspension. Nevertheless, he was allowed to resume training with his teammates back in September.

Toney’s suspension was then officially lifted earlier this week and he can now play for Frank. Brentford is set to host Nottingham Forest on Saturday, January 20th in a return from their winter break. The center forward has not played an official match for the Bees in 259 days.

Bees manager hails striker’s commitment to the club

Frank told reporters on Friday that Toney is “very committed” to the club and is ready to contribute right away. “He’s buzzing like an Under-8,” the Brentford manager said of his striker’s anticipation to return to the pitch. “I’m looking into the eyes of a player that’s very committed.”

“He will start tomorrow [against Nottingham Forest] and will captain the side. I’m pretty sure he’s ready.”

“He’s a special character, a fantastic person to be around. The energy he brings, the smile, the positivity, is a massive thing. He drags people – he wants to win. It’s a massive boost. It’s like a new signing. There’s an argument for him being the second-best striker in the league, in my opinion.”

Brentford has struggled without their star during the current campaign. With Toney, the Bees finished ninth in the Premier League table last season. However, the west London side currently finds themselves in a relegation scrap near the bottom of the table. Brentford currently sits 16th in the standings, just three points from the drop zone. Nevertheless, the club has played fewer matches compared to other teams in a similar position.

Toney has openly admitted he wants to move to ‘top club’

Frank’s comments about Toney being committed to Brentford come just days after the striker admitted that he is willing to join a “top club” soon. In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports, the center forward did not exactly rule out a January move away from the Bees.

“You can never predict when is the right time to move elsewhere, but I think it’s obvious I want to play for a top club,” proclaimed Toney. “Everybody wants to play for a top club, that is fighting for titles. Whether it’s this January that is the right time for a club to come in and pay the right money, who knows?”

Arsenal and Chelsea have been heavily linked with a move for Toney in recent months. Both clubs currently need a new center forward in the team to help score goals. The Gunners are currently fourth in the table and have one of the better defenses in the entire league. However, they desperately need reinforcements at the position to make a title charge.

Chelsea, on the other hand, sits ninth in the standings after spending over $1 billion on new players since the summer of 2022. Despite the massive spending, the Blues are also struggling to score goals from the center-forward position. Nicolas Jackson and Armando Broja have both failed to impress up front during the current campaign.

Although these two clubs would love to sign Toney this month, Brentford have slapped a huge price tag on their star striker. Reports vary on the exact expected fee, but any club will have to shell out around $100 million to sign Toney. Nevertheless, Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules are hindering both Arsenal and Chelsea during the January market.