Watford vs Birmingham City Match Preview.
Birmingham City are the visitors at Vicarage Road tomorrow in the Sky Bet Championship, with Watford only having three games left to make their automatic promotion dreams come reality.
The Hornets could go top of the league tomorrow with victory over the Blues if results go their way, and Watford will be looking to keep up the pressure on their promotion rivals after winning their previous three games.
Birmingham City come into the match in 14th position, and have a realistic chance of achieving a top ten finish, in what has been a successful season for the Blue’s considering that they only just avoided relegation to League 1 on the final day of last season.
During the match earlier this season at St Andrews, it was Birmingham City who ran out 2-1 winners. Clayton Donaldson netted a deflected early opener, but the Blue’s didn’t hold their lead for long, as the Hornets were level just five minutes after, thanks to Fernando Forestieri’s strike. But it was the Blues who were to achieve the three points in Gary Rowett’s first game as Birmingham City manager, with Donaldson popping up with a second five minutes before time to seal victory.
Former Burton Albion boss Gary Rowett is the manager of Birmingham and he has done a superb job since being appointed back in October. The 41 year old has turned the Blue’s fortunes around in his short time at the club, transforming them from a side fighting relegation to a solid mid-table outfit. He replaced Lee Clark as manager in October 2014, who left the Blue’s languishing in 23rd position in the table, and this highlights Rowett’s superb work since he joined from Burton Albion.
The key player for the Blue’s tomorrow will be midfielder David Cotterill. The winger joined the club before the start of the season after leaving Doncaster Rovers, and the Welshman has been superb for Birmingham this season scoring nine goals in the process. Cotterill is a proven set piece specialist, and has proved deadly from free kicks on a number of occasions. With eight assists this season, the midfielder is also the creative spark within the team, so the Hornets defence will have to keep a close eye on the former Swansea, Barnsley and Doncaster Rovers man tomorrow.
Tomorrow’s game is another crucial match for the Hornets, which they need to win to keep up their chances of automatic promotion. A defeat tomorrow could spell the end of the Hornets automatic charge, which would leave them looking at the play off’s, which I’m sure most Watford players and fans will want to avoid after the Hornets last experience back in the Play Off final back in May 2013. Birmingham will be no roll-overs despite them having nothing to play for, so the Hornets will have to keep up their good form if they want to gain those all important three points.
For Watford, Fernando Forestieri is available after recovering from a knee problem that has kept him out in recent weeks. Mid-week goal-scorer Matthew Connolly is a doubt due to a tight hamstring, but will undergo a late fitness test. Joel Ekstrand and Sean Murray are ruled out for the Hornets.
For Birmingham City, Gary Rowett is without Watford loan duo Lloyd Dyer and Diego Fabbrini who are ineligible to play against the Hornets. Defender Jonathan Spector could feature.
Predicted Team Line-ups
Watford – Gomes (GK), Cathcart, Angella, Hoban, Motta, Watson, Abdi, Guedioura, Anya, Deeney ©, Ighalo
Birmingham City – Randolph (GK), Caddis ©, Kiernan, Morrison, Grounds, Cotterill, Gleeson, Tesche, Davis, Gray, Donaldson.
Referee – Mark Haywood.