Barnet [A] Preview - Aug 11th
Watford kick off their 2009/10 League Cup campaign at the home of local League Two side Barnet this Tuesday. The game is only the second meeting ever between the two sides, Watford winning the previous cup clash in the previous century.
Since then both sides have come through extreme transition, Barnet have been in back in the Football League for a few seasons, whilst Watford appear to have [touch wood] steadied themselves in the Coca Cola Championship. Gone are the topsy-turvy days where it was sexy to be a Watford fan under Graham Taylor and Elton John, this is a new era, and a cup run under Malky Mackay would be well received in just his first season. After last years dramatic defeat at the hands of Spurs in the Quarters, Watford have a feeling they are a match for anyone, so Barnet away shouldn`t be too hard right?
Well not if they home side have their way. Ian Hendon`s men marched to safety last season after a terrible Winter period in which they won just once in twenty-odd games, that last game being the solitary victory and long-serving manager Paul Fairclough`s last in charge. Veteran defender Ian Hendon took the reigns, and with a couple of solid signings steadied the ship. Paul Furlong was acquired on-loan from League One side Southend and his 9 goals in 21 games complement that of top-scorer, John O`Flynn. Gary Breen steadied things up at the back along with Colchester Loanee Matt Lockwood whilst Jake Cole arrived on loan from Q.P.R to replace veteran Lee Harrison and rival hapless Israeli, Ran Kadoch between the sticks. Exciting winger Yannick Bolasie was recruited on loan from Plymouth to give Barnet more zip down the right.
This Summer has been even busier for Hendon`s men after he announced his retirement from playing at 37 and signed a two-year deal as permanent gaffer. Bolasie returned on loan for 6months whilst Jake Cole and Paul Furlong also penned new deals at the club after being released by their respective clubs. Another former Hornet was snared in the shape of Micah Hyde, he of 'he`s here, he`s there, etc`. Reggae boy Micah was handed the number 10 shirt and the captaincy for the season whilst his new midfield partner Mark Hughes, no not that one, arrived on a free also. Another Hyde had arrived previously, young gun Jake snatched from Swindon's Youth ranks for nothing. Youngsters Ryan O`Neill and Clovis Kamodjo arrived just 48 hours before the seasons start as did Ahmed Dean, formerly a Macclesfield Town left back. Daniel Leach also arrived after a successful trial with the Bees. The Aussie had a standout pre-season alongside regular centre-backs Ismail Yakubu and Gary Breen. Yet another former Hornet arrived in the shape of Albert Jarrett. He of the oddly-shaped head arrived after spells here there and everywhere and if he can be bothered, will provide width down the left with Adomah pushed up top to compensate for the loss of O`Flynn.
Youngster Joe Devera can also slot in at centre back but was ousted from his regular right back slot on day one by Ulsterman and former West Ham Youth prospect, O`Neill. The Bees were unlucky with their defeat at the hands of Peter Jackson but the general consensus was that 'keeper Cole has handed Janos Kovac`s his goal after dropping a high ball.
Last years top scorer, John O`Flynn, linked with the Hornets on occasion will mist out with a foot injury, whilst Albert Adomah may be another name familiar to the conscientious Hornet as he was linked with a 500k move to the better side of Hertfordshire. Fact is we don`t have 500k to blow on one unproven League Two player. That said the boy is a bagful of tricks and will certainly make Aidy Mariappa or Lee Hodson work for their wage on Tuesday.
Watford will be without Scott Loach on international duty with England`s U21`s, meaning a first run out for Richard Lee of the new campaign. New signing Jure Travner is also out due to international duty with Slovenia`s U21`s. Ross Jenkins is away with England`s U20 side and Captain America; Jay DeMerit is flying to the States to represent the U.S.A.
Always a bit hard to guess in the League Cup but here goes -
Likely Watford XI
Hodson Mariappa Williamson Doyley
Likely Barnet XI
O`Neill Leach Yakubu Gillett
Bolasie Hughes Hyde (c) Jarrett
Next Up Saturday 15th, Sheffield United [A].