I know I’m not big on issuing predictions, but this one’s really difficult. The Reds have defied predictability over the last few games, whilst Watford seem even more tricky to second-guess even beyond us as they operate under a bizarre experiment with Zola as manager.
It seems highly likely to me that Simon Cox will be given the opportunity to add a bit more of a different type of energy to our attack – apparently Sam Hutchinson and Jermaine Jenas have returned to training too, but I can’t see either being risked for the trip to Vicarage Road – although the prospect of Hutch in particular returning is a tempting prospect.
However, with Ayala and Halford coming through the trip to Brighton unscathed it does give Sean options to choose from which had been limited in some areas of late. Watford are likely to be missing the aptly-named striker Fernando Forestieri, which might just be a good omen! The Hornets have struggled whilst he’s been out.
They are also likely to be without John Eustace in midfield and Nyron Nosworthy in defence, both have returned to training this week but are unlikely to have attained sufficient match fitness to feature. Lloyd Doyley remains on the sidelines with a calf injury.
If you look at the science then it swings the balace in Watford’s favour – although comparing 20 home/away games is covering a long time in modern football, and both Forest and Watford have undergone rather significant changes since that sequence of games began. That said, until a 2-1 defeat in their last home game, Watford were enjoying an unbeaten run at home.
Forest on the road have been – despite their best impression of the Keystone Cops in defence on occasions – in reasonable fettle on the road as well though over the last few games, if we gloss over the debacle at Portman Road of course. So whilst I love stats and pretty graphs, I am hoping that the numbers in this case are doing Forest somewhat of a disservice.
In player news, James Coppinger is set to go back to Doncaster which is probably a good move for all concerned. In a team crying out for wingers, for a winger – with a strong history with the manager – to have struggled to make an impact is an indictment that things ain’t really working out. Thanks to him for his efforts and all the best to him as he resumes duties with Rovers.
We appear to have agreed a deal with Derry City to sign young winger Stephen McLaughlin though – presumably in January – after impressing Sean O’Driscoll in training. A winger! Imagine that! Then of course we have the new big screens to look forward to for the Leeds game on Boxing day which, well, if it keeps the kids happy then I suppose that’s something…!