Bradford City Preview - Home, January 7
THE 2011-12 F.A Cup trail starts for Watford this weekend with the Hornet's hosting Phil Parkinson's ever-improving Bradford City.
The Bantams will travel to Vicarage Road looking for something of a cup upset.
With only one defeat in seven, Parkinson's outfit are are on the up, culminating in the former Charlton, Hull and Colchester boss claiming the League Two 'Manager of the Month' accolade for December.
Parkinson has been quick to strengthen his squad, drawing on his time higher in the Football League pyramid to bring some bigger names to Valley Parade.
Former Hull City colleagues Matt Duke and Craig Fagan have arrived on permanent deals along with former Plymouth defender Marcel Seip, former Charlton winger Kyel Reid and Stoke City defender Andrew Davies on loan.
Reid, 24, is a particularly dangerous prospect who just needs to settle down and get regular game time for a club.
The former West Ham trainee has played for no less than seven other clubs already including his present employers. Blessed with explosive pace, it's his end product that has seen him tumble into League Two.
At the back, Davies has suffered similarly throughout his career. At 27, the centre-back has only had three permanent clubs, however, a further eight loan moves have provided him with an extremely nomadic existence.
Big and strong, the Middlesbrough trainee has only made two substitute appearances in the Premier League for present club, Stoke City, where he looks certain to leave in the near future in search of that elusive first-team football.
Behind Davies in another man that Parkinson has worked with before in Hull stalwart, Duke.
The 34 year-old stopper made just 46 league starts in seven years at the KC Stadium, taking in football in all four divisions with the Tigers. A reliable and consistent 'keeper, Duke overcame testicular cancer a few years back.
The Bantams also have a Hornet on loan for a few more days in the shape of Michael Bryan. The 21 year-old winger has failed to feature consistently under Parkinson and looks certain to return to Vicarage Road when his loan spell ends.
Watford boss Sean Dyche will make changes for this one, with his hands tied on a few matters. Michael Kightly's loan spell has ended, opening up a wide midfield slot. Nyron Nosworthy has not been given permission to feature in the F.A Cup as yet whilst Scott Loach is suspended.
Young Welshman Jonathan Bond will come in for Loach whilst Craig Forsyth looks a sure bet to start on the left-flank. David Mirfin or Lloyd Doyley will replace Nosworthy.
Whether or not Dyche will rest some first-team regulars is unknown at this stage.
Bradford will be without skipper Michael Flynn and the suspended David Syers for the clash.
Watford: Bond; Hodson, Mariappa (c), Mirfin, Dickinson; Yeates, Hogg, Buaben, Forsyth; Deeney & Sordell.
Bradford City: McLaughlin; Oliver, Taylor, Seip, Davies,; Fagan, Ravenhill, Bullock, Threlfall; Hanson & Wells.