Derby County vs Watford Match Preview.
Watford head to the iPro stadium this evening to play Derby County in front of the Sky Sports cameras, in a match which kicks off a crucial weekend for the Golden Boys.
The Hornets travel to promotion rivals Derby this evening and on Monday Watford face Middlesbrough at Vicarage Road, and these two matches will surely identify whether the Golden Boys will secure automatic promotion or finish in the play offs.
Watford come into the match in 2nd position in the table, and a win this evening could move them up to the top of the Championship depending on other results. Slavisa Jokanovic’s men will surely want to bounce back from the cruel 0-1 defeat to Ipswich last time out, where the Tractor Boys nicked the three points with virtually the last kick of the game and the Hornets will be hoping to avoid that situation once again this time out in what should be a highly competitive game.
On the other hand, Derby County come into the match in 5th position and the Rams have fallen away from the automatic promotion places due to a six match run without a win.
During the match earlier this season at Vicarage Road, it was Derby County who ran out 1-2 winners. Jordan Ibe put the visitors ahead five minutes before half time thanks to a magnificent curling strike before Gianni Munari equalised midway through the second half. Matej Vydra went agonisingly close to putting the Hornets in front before Craig Bryson scored a superb winner from 25 yards in the 81st minute which gave Jonathan Bond no chance and secured the three points for the Rams.
Derby are managed by former England boss Steve McClaren who has turned the Rams into a promotion chasing side since he took over in October 2013. McClaren’s side came agonisingly close to securing promotion last season, where they were beaten in the Play Off Final courtesy of Bobby Zamora’s last gasp winner which secured a 0-1 win for QPR. Derby have been in and around the top six since the start of the season, and were top of the pile before injuries to Chris Martin and Darren Bent started off a six match winless run which the Rams will be hoping to put a stop to tonight.
The key player for Derby tonight if he starts will be striker Chris Martin. The striker has been on the sidelines for the past ten games due to injury but could be involved this evening, and the former Norwich striker is the Rams top scorer this season with 19 goals. Johnny Russell will also be a threat, with the Scotland international causing the Hornets a number of problems back in November when the two sides last met.
Tonight’s game is one of the biggest of the season and kicks off an important four days for the Hornets. A good result tonight and on Monday will prove whether the Hornets are capable of securing automatic promotion and will put Slavisa Jokanovic’s men in an excellent position for the final four games. Two defeats though, will surely leave Watford looking at the Play Off’s and the Golden Boys won’t want to go down that route again after what happened in the Play Off Final back in the 2012/13 season.
The next two games will be an ultimate test of the Hornets promotion credentials. Two positive results and we can dare to dream. COYH!
For Derby, Steve McClaren has Chris Martin, George Thorne and Jeff Hendrick available for selection after they have overcome their respective injuries. However, it remains to be seen whether Martin and Thorne will start for the Rams. Former Hornet John Eustace is out through injury.
For Watford, Almen Abdi remains on the sidelines due to a hamstring injury but the Hornets expect the influential midfielder to be fit for Monday’s game against Middlesbrough. Matej Vydra will be assessed. Matthew Connolly could make his debut. Sean Murray and Joel Ekstrand are ruled out.
Predicted Team Line-ups
Derby – Grant (GK), Christie, Keogh ©, Albentosa, Forsyth, Hughes, Bryson, Hendrick, Ince, Bent, Russell.
Watford – Gomes (GK), Motta, Angella, Cathcart, Hoban, Watson, Munari, Guedioura, Forestieri, Ighalo, Deeney ©
Referee – Kevin Friend.