Coventry Preview - Away, May 2nd
Having finally secured their Championship safety on Saturday at home to Reading, Watford head to Coventry for their final game of the season looking to end on a high and possibly, just possibly, grab that elusive fourth away victory of the season.
A few weeks back, this would have been considered a much harder trip than it is now deemed to be. Chris Coleman`s young side were pushing up the league at an alarming pace, and the Play Off`s certainly didn`t look an unreasonable target, however, a winless run of ten matches stretching back to March 6th when a 2-1 win was secured at Scunthorpe.
Last Time Out: Middlesbrough 1-1 Coventry City
ity secured a point away at eighth-placed Middlesbrough thanks to a second half equalizer from Icelander, Aaron Gunnarsson. The home side took a 52nd minute lead through Aussie striker Scott McDonald, sweeping home from inside the penalty area before Gunnarsson took a share of the spoils for the visitors from close-range.
b>Starting XI: Westwood; Wright (c), Wood, Barnett, Cranie; Bell, Clingan, Gunnarsson, McIndoe; Morrison and Eastwood.
linton Morrison - 37 League Starts + 8 Sub Appearances (11 Goals)
Key Player: Clinton Morrison
xperienced forward Clinton Morrison became a Sky Blue back in 2008 after leaving Crystal Palace following one of his most successful seasons as an Eagle.
Having turned down a new contract at Selhurst Park, Morrison penned a deal with the Midlander`s and has an impressive strike rate of 21 in 77 league starts at the Ricoh leaving the one-time Irish cap with an overall career record that reads 137 in 370.
As one of the more experienced players in Chris Coleman`s otherwise young squad, Morrison has skippered the side on a number of occasions when club captain Stephen Wright has been unavailable. Nearly 31, the Tooting-born forward will be a pacey threat to the Hornet`s goal on Sunday, as ever.
ov boss Chris Coleman is without four players for the season`s final fixture, all down to long-term injuries.
Holding midfielder Isaiah Osbourne is out following knee surgery whilst Scottish centre-back James McPake has both knee and groin issues. On-loan forward Jonathan Stead is sidelined with a knee problem too and Irishman Gary Deegan is out thanks to an ankle problem picked up against Reading at the Majdeski.
Last Time Out: Watford 3-0 Reading
atford finally secured their Championship status for next season with a comfortable three-nil win over Reading at the Vic`. It would be accurate to say the Royals didn`t turn up, their season ending in midweek at Scunthorpe, but Watford were more than happy to run in two goal thanks to Danny Graham, and a left-footed striker from loanee Heidar Helguson sandwiched in between.
b>Starting XI:Loach; Hodson, Mariappa, Taylor, Doyley; Cowie, Lansbury, Eustace (c), Harley; Graham; Helguson.
anny Graham - 36 League Starts + 9 Sub Appearances (12 Goals)
ith Will Buckley and Tom Cleverley already sidelined with season ending hamstring and knee problems respectively, Watford`s only remaining doubt is skipper Jay DeMerit. The USA cap is out at present with an abdominal injury and no time frame has been put on the problem by the club. Watch this space.
Key Player: John Eustace
he gritty midfielder isn`t everyone`s cup of tea, but another superb performance against Reading on Saturday only strengthens the former Stoke enforcer`s case for a new contract.
Despite misplacing a few passes in ten the stand-in skipper is integral to the Hornet`s midfield for his leadership, bite, resilience and experience allowing the likes of Don Cowie, Tom Cleverley and Henri Lansbury to strut their stuff alongside him.
If Sunday is to be the last time we see John in a Watford shirt, I for one would like to thank him for his immense efforts for the last two and a half years, especially this season after his Hornet`s career seemed to be ended last season by Brendan Rodgers.
Prediction: Coventry 1-2 Watford
f only to end our horrific season on the road in style - and because we`ve never lost at the Ricoh (albeit in just two visits…)!