VitalWatford preview - Barnsley [a]
Oakwell hasn`t been a happy hunting ground for Watford in recent times and Braveheart Watford boss Malky Mackay is running the risk of rolling into Barnsley without his 2 teenage prodigies in tow…
The Hornets - who have to go back to December 2000 to find their last win on the Tykes home territory, thanks to an Alan Neilson strike - will give late fitness tests to Clever Tom Cleverley and 'Hooray Henri` Lansbury for the trip north… but other than that have a clean bill of health.
…just don`t expect to see wee Stevie McGinn or swashbuckling Will Buckley just yet - they need match practise in the ressies before starting - or so, says the gaffer.
Barnsley boss, Mark Robins` will, no doubt be a bob bob bobbing after an impressive 4-1 away win at Preston in midweek but his side`s 2010 form so far has summed up a season set for a mid table finish - 2 wins and 3 losses.
Mind you, having beaten Boro, Cardiff and Burnley (in the cup) at Oakwell so far this season and secured decent results against Newcastle, Sheffield Utd and Blackpool, it`s no wonder Malky is keen to point out that Watford "won`t underestimate" their hosts.
Let's hope Mackay's troops remember that and have it drummed into them…Barnsley captain Steven Foster reckons they "are full of confidence" at the moment...and rightly so.
After all, like his Hornets counterpart, Robins has had a pretty solid spending spree in the January sales, loaning in the experienced Championship heads of Felip Texiera [WBA] and Jay Rodriguez - who scored a belter for Burnley at the Vic last season.
Ok, so there`s no Koslek or Hassell expected in a defence featuring the old battering rams, Moore and Foster (that will be a battle for H), alongside the youthful legs of Dickinson and Shotton (both on loan from Stoke) but it`s upfront that could cause Taylor&co issues.
Barnsley have an embarrassment of riches along their front line - with a selection of strikers, all of whom have caused Watford woe in the past. Andy Gray and Jon Macken are always a nuisance, Ian Hume is the brains of the outfit and Daniel Bogdanovic has proved to be a surprise package this season… even at 9ft2!!!
Given that firepower at his disposal, it seems strange that Mark Robins wants Robbie Blake on emergency loan, according to the redtops anyway.
VitalWatford particularly like the look of midfield combo of Emil Hallfredsson and Nathan Doyle whilst Argie playmaker Roberto Colace needs to be watched - so don`t get distracted by the hulk that is Anderson De Silva like in the 3-2 Oakwell thriller a few seasons back then lads).
All in all, it makes for a midtable scrap of a clash. Watford will no doubt want a win - after dispatching of the Blades so easily in midweek (it could have been 8!) - but here at VitalWatford Towers we`d be happy to take a point from this one - with Danny 'not so Golden now` Graham hopefully getting back to scoring ways.