The Rams sacked Clement last week with the club only a matter of points off the top two – a decision which caused plenty of debate among supporters and pundit alike.
Smith, previewing his upcoming opponents, admits the decision came as a shock but isn’t taking Derby’s poor form for granted, citing the number of quality options available at their disposal.
“I think it shocked everyone with Paul leaving his role a few weeks ago,” Smith explained.
“They have gone five or six games without a win and have gone from a position of pushing for the top two to being sixth in the league now.”
“They will want to put that right straight away. You only have to look at their squad list to know what an excellent squad list it is.”
Clement’s sacking came at the end of a six-game winless streak in the league, and that was later extended under Darren Wassall’s first game in charge as the Rams lost 1-0 at home to MK Dons last weekend.
Derby’s radical loss of form has been hard to explain, such is the quality at their disposal and the number of options they have available to them in the attacking positions.
The East Midlands club have spent more than £20 million on a team largely fancied for promotion anyway, therefore their current position of sixth in the Championship is simply not good enough.
Brentford head in to the encounter at Griffin Park short on defensive cover and lacking form themselves, handing Derby a great chance to end their slump via a much-needed and long overdue victory.