Date:Monday September 28 2009
Following a very credible fightback against Gareth Southgate's high-flying Middlesborough outfit, Chris Coleman's Coventry City travel down to WD18 to take on Malky Mackay's seven-unbeaten Hornets. The Sky Blues sit just two points and six places below Watford after a decent start to the campaign.
Unlike the Hornets, who will have Nathan Ellington banned for Tuesdays game after a ridiculous sending off on Saturday, Coventry are loaded with attacking options. Regular forwards Clinton Morrison and Leon Best got the goals for Coleman's side on Saturday, Morrison grabbing his sixth of the campaign and former Southampton striker Best snatched his fourth right at the death.
Morrison is finally hitting the heights he threatened earlier in his career after two spells at Crystal Palace sandwiched a spell in the Premier League with Steve Bruce's Birmingham side. Morrison's career was galvanized by the arrival of Neil Warnock in the 2007/2008 season at Selhurst Park. Amongst a young side of Palace's hot prospects, Morrison relished the responsibility and ended the campaign the Eagles top scorer. However a lingering worry was his reluctance to pen a new deal, and unsurprisingly the Republic of Ireland international decided against renewing his deal to join Coventry on a free. His first season at the Ricoh Arena brought the often stand-in skipper twelve goals.
If Best, signed after a tribunal fee was agreed, and Morrison struggle to make an impact at Vicarage Road then Coleman still has million-pound man Freddy Eastwood on the bench. The former Southend striker has seen his career stall slightly since leaving Roots Hall two years ago where he helped the Shrimpers to promotion from League One whilst also scoring the goal to knock Manchester United out the Carling Cup.
Chris Coleman strengthened his paper-thin squad over the Summer with the signings of two Chelsea youngsters.
One will already be familiar to Watford fans after spending the second half of last season on-loan at Vicarage Road. That man is of course son of Alan Cork, Jack Cork. The midfielder was expected to join a Premier League side for the season but for one reason or another didn't. Cork featured eighteen times on-loan at Watford last season and has amassed 84 league starts on loan at various Football League Clubs over the past three years. Cork as we well know is a cultured passer of the ball with the ability to pick passes others can't even see. Also more than happy to get stuck in and likely to sit deeper than his central midfield partner.
The other man taken on-loan from moneybags Chelsea is Dutch left-full back, Patrick Van Aanholt. The youngster started on the bench on Saturday following a hamstring injury, but could well start at Vicarage Road after coming on for the veteran number three, Marcus Hall.
In the middle
Competing with Jack Cork for a midfield berth will be any number of players acquired by the acute transfer market operator, Chris Coleman.
Sammy Clingan was poached from relegated Norwich City this Summer for around £350k and recently scored a screaming 35 yard-strike free kick at Preston North End. Clingan had formerly turned out for Wolves, Nottingham Forest and Norwich City. Aron Gunnarsson and Isaac Osborne are similar sort of box-to-box players with great midfield engines. Gunnarsson possesses a dangerously long throw in which Watford will have to look out for on Tuesday night.
Finally in the wide positions, there's another Ex-Canary, and Ex-Scummer in versatile midfielder David Bell. Bell arrived at the Ricoh last January after injury and form prevented him from fitting in at Carrow Road last Summer. Michael McIndoe is another player who failed to fit in after a six month spell at Wolves in 2007 saw him join Bristol City for two years. This Summer the Scottish winger was subject of bids from both Sheffield United and Coventry but could not agree personal terms with the Blades. United's loss is Cities gain as the tricky winger can unlock the bulk of defences.
Ex-Hornets: Jack Cork [18 League Apps + 1, 0 Goals]
Ex-Sky Blues: John Eustace [62 + 23, 7]
Likely Watford XI
Hodson Mariappa ( c ) Cathcart Doyley
Cowie Eustace Jenkins Cleverley
Likely Coventry City XI
Wright Clarke Turner Van Aanholt
Clingan Cork Osborne McIndoe
Date:Monday September 28 2009
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