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Preview: Watford v Blues

Blues made a flying start to the tenure under Bowyer.

BCFC

Blues travel to Watford in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday afternoon.

The visit to Hertfordshire is the first away game for new Head Coach Lee Bowyer and is the team’s last outing before the international break.

Blues come into the match on the back of Wednesday’s vital win over Reading at St. Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium and know a repeat performance will be required against another opponent who are in the promotion picture.

Watford, currently second in the table, picked up three points themselves midweek as they put four past Rotherham United in South Yorkshire on Tuesday night to make it four wins on the bounce.

Ahead of our meeting in December the Hornets’ longest winning run this term had been two successive wins. But having taken all three points in B9 that day, Blues will be looking to return the favour over opposition they last beat at Vicarage Road in 2009.

That success is one of 17 over Watford in all competitions, with the first being an FA Cup victory back in 1931.

THE OPPOSITION:

Watford will host Blues under the guidance of Xisco Muñoz after the Spaniard took over from Vladimir Ivic in December - a change of head coach that came just over a week on from their win in B9. His arrival made him the fifth occupant of the Vicarage Road dugout in just over a year, but the change could prove inspired with the Hornets now occupying the second automatic promotion spot, a position they were four points short of when he arrived.

And they are currently on their best run of the season having won eight of their last nine games, including a 6-0 demolition job on Bristol City and last-gasp glory over a Cardiff City side who were on an 11-game unbeaten run.

Such fine form has also occurred without the matchday presence of the talismanic Troy Deeney. Watford’s number nine, whose goal was the difference in the reverse fixture, is expected to be out with an Achilles injury. Tom Cleverley is another absentee, whilst there is a doubt over Ismaila Sarr following his unplanned withdrawal against the Millers.

The Senegalese winger is their leading appearance maker (33) in the Championship this campaign and joint-top scorer (9) along with Joao Pedro.

LAST TIME OUT:

Blues made a flying start to the tenure of Bowyer as they beat play-off pushing Reading in the West Midlands. Leading as early as the fourth minute through Lukas Jutkiewicz’s header, Blues gave a performance of real commitment and were unfortunate to go into the break level when Yakou Meite equalised. However, there was a fighting spirit for all to see and this was rewarded when skipper Harlee Dean scored what proved to be the winner in the 71st minute.

Watford also collected three points during the week with a comprehensive win at Rotherham. Munoz's men were three up by half-time, with goals from Francisco Sierralta, Sarr and Ken Sema putting them in the ascendency. Freddie Ladapo did pull one back for the hosts after they had seen a penalty saved, but any feint hopes of a comeback were extinguished when substitute Dan Gosling scored a fourth.

WE MEET AGAIN:

Blues 0 Watford 1, 12 December 2020

Blues were narrowly beaten by Watford earlier in the season.

Troy Deeney’s penalty just five minutes from time was the difference after Kristian Pedersen had been adjudged to have fouled Stipe Perica inside the area.

Before that, Blues had come closest when Mikel San José flicked a Gary Gardner corner onto the post in a game of few chances.

BLUES TEAM NEWS:

Caolan Boyd-Munce (thigh) is out through injury.

HEAD-TO-HEAD:

Blues wins: 17

Draws: 9

Watford wins: 21

LAST FIVE MEETINGS:

Championship 12 Dec 2020 – Blues 0 Watford 1

Championship 18 Apr 2015 – Watford 1 Blues 0

Championship 4 Nov 2014 – Blues 2 Watford 1

Championship 11 Feb 2014 – Watford 1 Blues 0

Championship 3 Aug 2013 – Blues 0 Watford 1

BLUESTV:

Supporters in the UK can watch this game live on Sky Sports Football and Sky Sports Main Event with coverage starting at 2.45pm.

Only viewers in selected countries will be able to watch our game against Watford on BluesTV. There is no pay-per-view for this fixture. Further details are available here

MATCH OFFICIALS:

Referee – Darren Bond

Assistant Referees - Mark Russell and Robert Hyde

Fourth Official - Oliver Langford

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