Writer: Tom Bodell
Date:Saturday August 27 2011
WATFORD WILL be aiming to take full advantage of Birmingham City's European status as they host the Midland's outfit at the Vic' this Sunday.
Chris Hughton's men brought European football back to St Andrews with an impressive 3-0 win over Nacional, young gun Nathan Redmond proving himself the star of the show.
Thursday's win proved a rare highlight in what has been a drab season so far for Brum, following the arrest of owner Caron Yeung, depature of manager Alex McLeish to fierce rivals Aston Villa, and the mas exodus of their star players.
With the likes of Craig Gardner, Roger Johnson, Seb Larsson, Ben Foster, Kevin Phillips, Barry Ferguson and others moving on, the Blues squad is severely depleted and subsequently six new faces have arrived at St Andrews permanently with another three on-loan.
Former Coventry, Watford, Wigan, Middlesbrough, Hull, Leeds, Barnet, Forest and Gillingham hitman, Marlon King heads that list having arrived on a free from the Ricoh Arena where he struck 13 in 28 last season having been released following a second stint at her Majesties pleasure.
Supplying the ammunition for the depleted Blues frontline will be Chris Burke, also a freebie, signed from Cardiff City. The Scottish winger previously played for Glasgow giants, Rangers, and has two senior Scotland caps to his name, scoring twice on debut versus Bulgaria.
At the back, fellow free agents Steven Caldwell and Jonathan Spector will look to keep the rearguard tight after two impressive seasons of marshalling from the Foster-Carr-Dann-Johnson-Ridgewell fulcrum. A back five which could soon by shy of Ridgewell and Dann too with Premier League clubs likely to move for the duo before the transfer window closes in five days time.
More disruption might just throw their season off course altogether.
Watford will be without Stephen McGinn (knee) and Chris Iwelumo, who is suffering from an ongoing niggle. Birmingham are robbed of the services of former 'Orn Jordon Mutch who recently broke his ankle in training.
Watford: Loach; Doyley, Mariappa, Taylor, Dickinson; Yeates, Jenkins, Eustace (c), Forsyth; Deeney and Sordell.
Birmingham City: Myhill; Carr(c), Caldwell, Davies, Murphy; Burke, Redmond, Spector, Fahey, Bausejour; Rooney.
Match Officials: (R) Mr N Swarbrick (AR's) Mr M Bull & Mr G Stretton (4th) Mr D Gallagher
Date:Saturday August 27 2011
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