Writer: Tom Bodell
Date:Monday October 31 2011
REJUVENATED WATFORD play host the recently beleaguered Brighton & Hove Albion on Tuesday night looking for back-to-back wins.
Gus Poyet's Brighton have hit the buffers somewhat of late, slipping to nine league and cup games without tasting victory. The Seagulls do however sit in 10th.
It had been a glorious return to the second-tier of English football for Poyet's side as they climbed into the upper-reaches of the Championship table early on.
A recent slump has cost the Seagulls but all the same, a top-half finish would surely represent strong progress.
Poyet has been heavily backed by owner Tony Bloom, spending big to bring the likes of Craig Mackail-Smith, Will Buckley and Vicente to the club.
Mackail-Smith set the Sussex side back a whopping £3.25m from Peterborough, but so far he's looked worth the fee. Five goals from his first 14 appearances for the Seagulls have been a decent return but his hard work and endeavor have once again proven his shining attribute.
Watford of course lost Buckley to the South Coast outfit over the summer for a fee of £1m having been at Watford for just 18 months. Buckley has made just four appearances for his new club, scoring twice including a winner late on his debut back in August.
Former Spain and Valencia star Vicente arrived at the AmEx slghtly later than Poyet's other summer arrivals but the free transfer certainly brings quality as well as pedigree. At just 29 years of age it's a case of getting him fit after a few injury-plagued years.
Following the recent slump in form, Poyet has acted quickly in the transfer market to add Steve Harper, Gonzalo Jara and Billy Paynter on loan.
Chilean utility man Jara and Newcastle stalwart Harper both debuted in last week's defeat to West Ham. Leeds flop Paynter has only arrived on the South Coast in the last few days.
Poyet will be without Vicente (thigh), whilst Watford old-boys Will Hoskins (thigh) and Buckley all sidelined. Jara could miss out.
Sean Dyche has selection headaches of his own, but of the good kind. Michael Kightly could be fit to feature as could Craig Beattie, however Chris Iwelumo and Marvin Sordell both impressed against Peterborough.
Nyron Nosworthy and Lee Hodson should both retain their places in defence unless Lloyd Doyely returns. Skipper John Eustace is also a doubt.
Watford: Loach; Hodson, Nosworthy, Mariappa (c), Dickinson; Yeates, Hogg, Bubaben, Forsyth; Iwelumo & Sordell.
Brighton & Hove Albion: Harper; Jara, Calerdon, Greer (c), Painter; Vincelot, Sparrow, Bridcutt; Noone, Mackail-Smith & Barnes.
Match Officials: (R) Mr O Langford (AR's) Mr J Busby & Mr P Kelly (4th) Mr J Farries.
Date:Monday October 31 2011
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