Watford .v. Rovers
23rd January 2007
Tuesday`s re-arranged fixture against Watford at Vicarage Road is a game that many would expect Rovers to win, however, Mark Hughes will be hoping his players can avenge their bottom club hoodoo.
In the two games that Rovers have played against a relegation zone side they have been beaten. First it was West Ham who inflicted a 2-1 defeat on Rovers and then it was the turn of Charlton, who courtesy of an injury time goal.
Again Rovers will have to travel into the capital to face an out-of-form side in the hope of claiming three points. This time though Rovers arrive full of confidence and undeterred about playing away.
With an impressive seven wins in nine games and three consecutive away wins, accumulating ten goals in the process, Rovers have every reason to feel confident. However, they must be wary of the wounded animal syndrome.
Watford is a stubborn side who have not been rewarded with the luck they deserve. They will they have a chance against a side who have yet to pick up a point in the capital this season.
Watford manager Adrian Boothroyd on trying to strengthen his squad:
"We are up to 25 trialists now from all over the world, who have come on various recommendations. I can't pronounce most of them, but that's the January madness for you. Some more are expected this week but there has been nobody that I felt could improve the team - and I will never sign a player without seeing him."
Blackburn boss Mark Hughes: "Watford are a wounded animal and are difficult to break down. They have great perseverance.Our performances away from home have been excellent, but we have experience of going to teams at the wrong end of the table and coming a cropper.
"We don't want that to happen again. We are in better shape for this game than we were against Charlton and West Ham."
Watford Team News:
New Watford signing, Lee Williamson, will have to wait longer for his debut as he is currently recovering from a broken two.
He joins James Chambers (ankle) and Clarke Carlisle (thigh) on the injury list. Marlon King is also still absent and will be all season. Ashley Young is expected to complete his transfer to Aston Villa soon and it is therefore unlikely he will feature.
Watford from: Foster, Mariappa, Mackay, Shittu, Stewart, Smith, Mahon, Francis, Bouazza, Powell, Priskin, Henderson, Hoskins, Ashikodi, Lee, DeMerit, Bangura, McNamee, Jarrett
Player to watch: Will Hoskins
The young lad from Nottingham has only recently moved to Watford and the Premier League but has already shown the kind of flair that could make him a hit.
His confidence is high after scoring 17 goals fro Rotherham already this season before his million pound transfer to Watford. He has an eye for goal and an ability to ghost into positions, which will make him a definite threat fro Hughes` back-line.
Blackburn Rovers Team News:
New boys David Dunn and Stephen Warnock are both unavailable for this fixture. Dunn isn`t fully fit yet to the standards that Mark Hughes expects and Warnock wasn`t signed in time to feature. That will mean James McEveley will start on the left side of defence again after impressing against Man City.
Brett Emerton will return to the starting XI in the absence of Andre Ooijer, whose broken leg has ruled him out for the season.
Matt Derbyshire and Paul Gallagher are pressing for starts after solid cameo performances against Man City. Ryan Nelsen, Jason Roberts and Francis Jeffers are nearing full fitness but this game is far too soon for them.
Rovers from: Friedel, Henchoz, Khizanishvili, Emerton, Bentley, Savage, Pedersen, Mokoena, Derbyshire, McCarthy, Tugay, Nonda, Brown, Todd, Gallagher, McEveley, Peter, Gray.
Player to watch: Benni McCarthy
The goal machine hasn`t scored in his last two games and looked frustrated on Saturday that he couldn`t find the net. He will viewing this game as a chance to add to his impressive seasons tally. His clever movement and thinking on the ball may be too much for Watford`s defence. If Rovers can supply him with enough service then he will surely take a chance or two.
Match Facts & Stats
In 24 meetings between the sides Watford have won eight, Rovers have won eight and eight have been draws.
This is though, the first time the two sides have met in the Premier League. Watford`s only other stint in the top-flight was when they replaced Rovers in the 1998-1999 season.
Watford have only picked up three points from a possible 33 since beating Middlesbrough, their only win of the season.
Despite their lowly position, games involving Watford are the lowest scoring in the Premiership.
Only seven different Rovers players have scored in the league this season.
If Morten Gamst Pedersen plays then it will be his 100th appearance for Rovers.
Dermot Gallagher officiates a Rovers game for the second time this season. The last time he oversaw a Rovers match he controversially sent off Stephane Henchoz. He has produced three red cards this season and 19 yellows in seen games.
Watford is a tough side to break down as many teams have found this season but they generally falter in the last ten minutes. If Rovers can sneak ahead then they will have a great opportunity of sitting back and playing on the break, which has served the club well in the last few away games. With quality and form in Rovers attack at the moment it isn`t hard to see where goals are going to come from. However, Rovers seem to have a curse hanging over them whenever they travel to London, and especially to face a relegation threatened club. Watford will be up for the fight but Rovers will be wary of the pitfalls of facing a lowly side and not taking them seriously having tasted defeat in similar circumstances twice this season. Rovers will emerge victorious to climb a place up the table. 2-1 to the blue and white halves.
Luton or QPR in the FA Cup on Saturday. Come on Luton.