The Opposition View - Watford - Part 2
1) Now we're half way through the season, what are your hopes and expectations for the rest of it?
Quite simply, to be in a similar position to where we are now at the end of the season. Going down wouldn't be a disaster but it would certainly be a great disappointment. As far as I'm concerned any Watford fans with a couple of brain cells to rub together would be happy to finish safely clear of the relegation zone, with anything more considered a bonus.
That's the expectation. In terms of hopes I'd love us to push on towards the top half. It's a very tight division and there are a lot of teams of similar ability. It only takes a run of five or six wins and you're in the top-half looking at the Play-Offs and by the same token it takes the same amount without a win and you're in the relegation picture. The higher we can finish this season the better our outlook will be for next season.
2) Who are the player/s to look out for?
John Eustace has been out injured in recent weeks and since returning to fitness he's been unable to break back into the side (even as club captain), due to the form of Jonathan Hogg. However, a cameo and a superb goal against Doncaster followed by a superb performance against Bradford in the F.A Cup have put him right back in contention. It could well be the case that he partners the equally imperious Hogg on Saturday.
Another man who has excelled recently is Troy Deeney. To be perfectly honest, Deeney has won me over in the past few weeks. I said to my co-editor the other week that I'd happily let his contract expire in the summer but he has proven his worth. He might not be a prolific goalscorer but he is the perfect foil for Marvin Sordell who is a goal-scorer, but not someone prepared to get his hands dirty. Deeney does the Heskey role very effectively; putting his body on the line, working his socks off and chipping in now and again. Together they're an effective partnership.
3) Sean Dyche has certainly grown into the managers role hasn't he?
Absolutely. It's a learning curve for every manager up and down the Football League, you've got very few with the experience of Sir Alex Ferguson or Arsene Wenger who can sit there and comprehensively say 'I know it all' - and to be fair, even those two would say otherwise.
Dyche has admitted his mistakes and although his approach in the transfer market looked very scattergun he realized that Craig Forsyth and David Mirfin weren't cutting the mustard so he brought in Nyron Nosworthy and Michael Kightly who both excelled and were central to our recent excellent run. The challenge now is to replace those two but you feel Dyche has a better idea now of who and what is needed in their positions.
4) If you could add one player from the Championship (or below) to your team, who would it be and why?
I think Billy Sharp is a wonderful goal-scorer. He's done superbly for both Scunthorpe and Doncaster and on each occasion he deserved a move to a higher level. I kind of hope he doesn't go to Leicester because he would become so disposable there; a club where if you don't hit the ground running they can afford to replace you. He would be an excellent replacement if Sordell were to leave.
5) What's your prediction for the game?
A draw. Reading seem to be wildly inconsistent and although we lost to Portsmouth on Bank Holiday Monday we're still on good form on the whole. Reading are dangerous - the likes of Jobi McAnuff (on his day) and Jimmy Kebe provide real danger but we can definitely get something from the game.