View from the Opposition: Watford
Tom Bodell from Vital Watford kindly gives his thoughts ahead of this weekend's Championship clash with the Hornets.
Hopes, fears & expectations for the season?
With all the change at the club over the summer it was always going to be hard to set specific targets, but, broadly speaking the hope was that we'd be able to equal or better our 11th-place finish of last season in order to justify the extremely-harsh sacking of Sean Dyche.
The fear was that we'd fail to click following the upheaval of the summer & be pulled into a relegation battle and the expectation was that we'd avoid relegation & finish comfortably in the mid-to-lower reaches of the table.
Half-way point of the season - on-track or not?
Emphatically so. Gianfranco Zola has said that we've done better than he expected and the owners did say that this season was a write-off earlier in the year & that next season would be the promotion push. That we're sixth still despite not playing on Boxing Day due to the inclement weather suggests that if anything, we're a little ahead of where we hoped to be.
Still, we're enjoying the ride up to this point!
Key player on Saturday?
Matej Vydra is the club's top-scorer with 10 goals, but in spite of that the Czech Republic international has been far from first-choice in recent weeks thanks to the form of fellow Udinese loanee, Fernando Forestieri. Forestieri is injured currently but Vydra has picked the goal-scoring mantle back up and his double saw-off Forest last Saturday.
He's a classy, classy finisher with good awareness, reading of the game and pace to boot.
One Hornet you'd drive to his next club & why?
Joe Garner is back at the club following a successful loan spell with Carlisle United. He's never looked like cutting it at this level and for that reason I hope he is off sooner rather than later. Carlisle want him & hopefully we will be happy to pack him off without demanding too much if anything for his 'services'!
One Seagull you'd snare & why?
Bruno Saltor looks fantastic whenever I see him. Comfortable going forward & a constant supply of assists, I think he'd offer a fine alternative to Marco Cassetti at right wing-back.
Any injury concerns or suspensions?
The aforementioned Cassetti is back from suspension so should come in for Ikechi Anya at right wing-back whilst Forestieri (hamstring), Prince Buaben (thigh), Nyron Nosworthy (hamstring), Lloyd Doyley (calf) and John Eustace (back) are all in training but not fit enough to feature.
A tough game and a well-earned 2-2 draw.
Many thanks to Tom, you can find him over at: http://www.watford.vitalfootball.co.uk/