Preston North End Preview - Home, Feb 15th
A WINLESS in five league and cup games Watford take on a winless in six Preston under their new manager, Phil Brown. The former Hull City and Derby County gaffer has seen his side collect just two points from his first six games losing the other four. At present the Lilywhite sit rock-bottom of the Championship, seemingly doomed for relegation to League One with 10 points between them and 21st place.
Watford of course are on a run of form a far cry from earlier in the season where the 'Orns seemingly couldn`t lose.
It`s been a busy few weeks for Phil Brown who since his appointment has been busy adding players to his squad. Not helped by the loss of Manchester United trio of - Ritchie De Laet, Matt James and Joshua King, Brown has added four of his own on loan.
One of course is hapless Hornet, Nathan 'Duke` Ellington, who will run down the reminder of his Goldenboys contract on loan in Lancashire. Further striking options were added in Queens Park Rangers out of favour Leon Clarke and Fulham`s forgotten American striker, Eddie Johnson.
Goalkeeper Ian Turner arrived at Deepdale late last week as the loan window re-opened at debuted in the 1-0 defeat by Hull City at the KC Stadium. Also on loan is Leon Cort, signed by Brown`s predecessor, Fergie Jnr.
The final peice of the puzzle was Brown`s former skipper at Hull, Ian Ashbee. The 34 year-old midfielder adds experience to an otherwise fairly young squad after agreeing to move to Deepdale for a nominal fee after deciding to re-join Brown at the end of his Tigers contract this Summer.
Watford Team News: Lee Hodson was passed fit to take on Burnley on Saturday so Aidy Mariappa filled in at left-back. Dependent on whether Lloyd Doyley is fit for action on Tuesday Mariappa looks likely to continue at left back in Doyley`s absence meaning Dale Bennett gets another shot at centre-half after nervy display following his Saturday own-goal.
Don Cowie is also likely to miss out with a thigh injury. Fellow winger Michael Bryan is sidelined with an ankle knock.
Likely Line-up: Loach; Hodson, Bennett, Taylor, Mariappa; Eustace (c); Buckley, McGinn, Drinkwater; Sordell and Graham.
Home Form: Watford 3-0 Derby County; Watford 1-1 Crystal Palace and Watford 1-3 Burnley.
Head2Head Form: Watford 2-1 Preston North End; Preston North End 2-0 Watford (08/09) Watford 2-0 Preston North End and Preston North End 1-1 Watford (09/10).
Preston North End Team News: Youngster Connor McLaughlin is definitely out with a broken ankle whilst Blackburn loanee Amine Linganzi has a groin problem sidelining him.
Watford loanee Nathan Ellington is ineligible due to the terms of his loan spell from the 'Orns.
Line-up Vs. Hull City: Turner; B.Jones, St. Ledger, Cort, Gray; Russell, Ashbee, Mayor; L.Clarke, Ellington and E.Johnson.
Away Form: Middlesbrough 1-1 Preston North End; Barnsley 2-0 Preston North End and Hull City 1-0 Preston North End.
Match Officials: Referee: Mr K Friend; Assistant Referees: Mr P Kirkup and Mr S Burt and Fourth Official: Mr D McDermid
Match Odds: Watford 7/10 (Paddy Power) Preston North End 9/2 (SkyBet) Draw 13/2 (SkyBet)