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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.”