WBA Preview - Home, March 5th
EASTER Monday football comes to Vicarage Road today as the Hornet`s play host to Roberto Di Matteo`s West Bromwich Albion side. Albion can seal promotion from the Championship if Nottingham Forest fail to beat fellow Play Off chasers Cardiff City at the City Ground
With Plymouth winning on Saturday at Doncaster in the last minute the Hornet`s now only have a gap of three points between themselves and Paul Mariners side before Saturday`s crucial clash at the Vic`.
Di Matteo`s side have scored 36 away goals this season, more than any other side in the Championship so the Hornet`s work will be well and truly cut out if they are to prevent the league`s most potent attacking force.
Recently returned from injury is Ishmael Miller, the former Manchester City striker has been out for over a year with a knee injury but has made a goalscoring return to the Albion first team with two goals since the turn of the year, both in Albion victories.
Drug-shame forward Roman Bednar has had a good season in front of goal once again in spite of the fact he has not been an automatic choice throughout the campaign. Nine goals for the Czech forward from just twenty two league appearances leaves the former Hearts forward with 28 goals in just 46 starts since moving to the Midlands for a seven figure sum.
Luke Moore has returned a less than impressive goal ratio having moved from Aston Villa in 2008 following a loan spell at the Hawthorns in which he failed to score. Five goals have come since making the move permanent for £3m, four this season, one of which came against the Hornet`s earlier in the campaign. Blessed with electric pace the brother of former QPR forward Stefan Moore needs to find consistency if he`s ever to live up to the potential he showed with Villa.
Former Reading and Swindon forward Simon Cox provides further ammunition up front after a slow start to life with the Throstles with eight goals from thirteen starts as a Baggie. A one in two record of 42 from 80 starts at Swindon was enough to persuade former MK Dons gaffer Di Matteo to part with £1.5m to bring the 5`9" forward from Wiltshire.
Also available is New Zealand international, Chris Wood. Tipped for a bright future the Kiwi has featured largely from the bench this campaign scoring one apiece in the League and F.A Cup.
However, in spite of the Baggies firepower up top, it`s in midfield where the real dangerman lies. Former Livingstone midfielder Graeme Dorrans only broke into the West Brom first team at the end of last season and has this season established himself as the creative force in midfield with 16 goals in all competitions. Admittedly some have been penalties but that doesn`t take away from the danger the Scot offers from in and around the penalty area.
Former Sheffield Wednesday winger Chris Brunt will also provide danger but from the wide areas. Signed in 2007 from the Owls for £3m the left-winger has clocked up nearly 200 career league appearances by the age of 26. A Northern Irish international with 23 caps and one goal, Brunt will provide pace and directness down the left-hand side.
At the back Scott Carson is a relatively experienced stopper despite being just 25. His career has already seen him don the gloves at Leeds, Liverpool, Charlton, Aston Villa, Sheffield Wednesday and now West Brom after a £3.25m move from Anfield at the beginning of last season. With Jonathan Greening on loan at Fulham Carson has assumed the captains armband at the Hawthorns and will be hoping to eventually get back into the international fold and add to his three England caps.
West Brom look likely to be able to welcome back Jerome Thomas after injury whilst Roman Bendar, Chris Brunt, Ishmael Miller, Robert Koren and Marek Cech are fresh back from injury in the last couple of weeks. Midfielder Ben Watson has been re-called by parent club Wigan Athletic however.
On loan Arsenal midfielder Henri Lansbury is suspended for the next two games after collecting ten yellow cards whilst Martin Taylor failed to complete 90 minutes at Preston on Saturday.
Watford: Tom Cleverley - 32 League Starts + 0 Sub Apps (11 Goals)
West Brom: Chris Brunt 34 + 1 (11) & Graeme Dorrans 37 + 3 (11)
West Brom: WWWDW
Likely Watford XI
Mariappa Taylor Bennett Doyley
Cleverley Jenkins Eustace (c) Harley
Likely West Brom XI
Mattock Tamas Olsson Cech
Morrison Koren Reid Brunt