Not feeling overly confident about this one – Watford have proven troublesome opponents for us at the City Ground anyway, and that’s compounded by disappointing injury news. Guy Moussi – a key player for us in recent weeks – will be missing, although skipper Paul McKenna will be able to stake a claim for his place in the team again.
New boy Robbie Findley immediately injured himself in training, which isn’t the most auspicious of starts, and there are doubts around Nathan Tyson who missed the Coventry game with a back problem. Despite a clash of heads and a massive black eye it would seem Chris Cohen is likely to be available, as his his headbutter Paul Konchesky.
Watford have impressed with their open attacking play this year – I really admire Malky Mackay’s side, and it’s not surprising that on their travels they are the highest scoring side in the league. Unlike most of our recent opponents at the City Ground I expect them to come and attack us – which whilst comes with an obvious threat, does open the door for us to play football rather than battle as in recent weeks.
We’ve won four of our last five games of course – indeed, of the last 24 points on offer we’ve taken 22 of them – which is a cracking run. Overlaid onto that is our long unbeaten league run at home – all of which combine to make me feel a bit nervous about this one. Watford’s form a little more mixed – they’ve won, lost and drawn their last three league games.
The home debut of Paul Konchesky will enhance an otherwise familiar looking back line for the Reds, with McKenna and Cohen likely to be in midfield with two of Majewski, McGugan and Anderson to join them. Earnshaw and Tudgay seem the likely strike pairing – but with the likes of McGoldrick in the squad we do have some flexibility despite the missing men.
I’m hoping that we have the opportunity to play a bit of nice football on the deck against a more positively set-up opponent that we’ve been used to – in a game like that the likes of Majewski could be a really key figure. The concern I have is that a run of scrappy (but brilliant!) wins might have unacclimatised our squad from a more free-flowing encounter.
That said, a defeat at Cardiff and a disappointing home draw against Crystal Palace in Watford’s last couple of games does offer a ray of optimism. I’m not counting their 3-0 win against Derby at Vicarage Road because that’s just a default result against Nigel Clough’s men these days!
I think this will be a tricky one – I can certainly see goals in the game and fairly evenly matched sides. If our defence can hold firm – and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t – then we could come through for the win. Wouldn’t it be nice to see a number three lining up a left-footed freekick as well…? Now I am dreaming!
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