Writer: Tom Bodell
Date:Friday October 14 2011
WATFORD SADDLE up once more to jump back on the Championship rollercoaster following a 4-0 thrashing at Southampton the Hornet`s host Crystal Palace.
Palace have upset the odds somewhat so far, after a couple of years of struggle Dougie Freedman`s outfit are currently comfortably situated in 12th position.
A bright start to the campaign saw the Eagles win three of their first four before a winless run off four ended with an impressive victory at rivals Brighton and Hove Albion. Bolted onto that result was a 2-2 draw at Upton Park, which sets the visitors up nicely for their trip across the capital this Saturday.
Central to the South Londoner`s start to the campaign has been the impressive form of the club`s forward which has given boss Freedman plenty of food for thought.
New-boy Glenn Murray, 28, signed from Brighton over the summer is now up and running with three league goals from just four league starts. The former Rochdale forward became Albion`s record signing in 2008 for a fee of 300k. Murray quickly repaid that fee with 53 goals from 118 Seagull`s appearances before leaving on a free transfer at the end of last season having helped Gus Poyet`s men into the Championship.
At the opposite end of the experience scale are home-grown forwards, Sean Scannell and Wilfried Zaha who have bagged three and four goals respectively. Zaha only made his Eagles debut last season scoring on his debut against Leicester City but has gone on to prove himself a hugely important piece of the jigsaw. Pacey, tricky and direct the diminutive forward has unsurprisingly attracted interest from Premier League sides.
Sean Scannell has been around longer having made his debut under Neil Warnock in 2007. Though the Croydon-born attacker hasn`t scored as many as he`d have liked since then the ability is undoubtedly there and the industrious Irish youth cap can also play in an advanced wide midfield role.
At the back Julian Speroni is proving as consistent as ever as he enters his seventh year at Selhurst Park. The agile Argentian 'keeper recently passed the 200 appearance mark for the Palace and has yet to be dislodged between the sticks.
Palace have no injury concerns with Nathaniel Clyne, Kagisho Dikagcoi and Owen Garvan back in training.
Meanwhile Watford are without the long-term injured Stephen McGinn as Jonathan Hogg and Carl Dickinson should be back to full fitness. Wolves winger Michael Kightly is set to make his debut having signed on loan and should replace either Mark Yeates or Craig Forsyth.
Watford: Gilmartin; Doyley, Mariappa, Taylor, Dickinson; Kightly, Eustace (c), Hogg, Forsyth; Garner and Sordell.
Crystal Palace: Speroni; Wright, McCarthy (c), Gardner, Moxey; Ambrose, Williams, Jedinak, Parr; Murray and Zaha.
(R) Mr M Halsey; (AR`s) Mr R Ganfield & Mr A Nunn ; (4th) Mr Horwood.
Date:Friday October 14 2011
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