Writer: Tom Bodell
Date:Friday February 10 2012
WATFORD TRAVEL to the Midlands next to face a faltering Nottingham Forest side who are not having a good time of it this season.
New boss Steve Cotterill has been unable to halt the slide and with heavy financial restrictions the Bristolian has only been able to move in the loan market.
On top of that, the tragic loss of owner Nigel Doughty at just 54 has brought an extremely sombre feel to proceedings at the City Ground.
If nothing else, Cotterill has been busy in the loan market and has brought in his full quota of five temporary additions.
The loss of powerful centre-half Wes Morgan to rivals Leicester City for £1m will not have gone down well either.
Defender Scott Wooton arrived from Manchester United, left-back-cum-centre-back Danny Higginbotham joins from Stoke, left-sided full-back Greg Cunningham is from Manchester City whilst marauding Wolves defender George Elokobi arrived today, Thursday.
Defensive midfielder Adiene Guedioura arrived from Wolves recently too.
No prizes for guessing where the weakness' are at Forest!
Despite the heavy influx of defensive additions, it's up top where The Tricky Trees have really faltered since Cotterill's arrival.
Top-scorer Marcus Tudgay has just five league goals and the side are averaging just 0.8 goals a game. To put that into perspective, Watford average 1.2.
Forest old-boy Marlon Harewood has arrived on a free transfer following the end of his contract with Chinese outfit Fuli, but has made just two starts since returning on January 6.
A like of strikers is not a problem for Cotterill though, as the former Portsmouth gaffer can call on experienced goal-getters in Matt Derbyshire, Robbie Findley, Ishmael Miller, David McGoldrick, Dexter Blackstock and the aforementioned Tudgay.
There is no lack of quality in midfield either. Lewis McGugan (three goals), is one of the most-coveted midfielders in the second-tier and has an eye for the spectacular.
Irish international Andy Reid is another to have returned to the City ground, under former boss Steve McClaren, and is a highly-capable playmaker with a sweet left peg.
Jonathan Greening spent a number of years in the top-flight with Fulham, Middlesbrough and West Brom before his switch to Nottingham whilst both Paul Anderson and Chris Cohen have bags of technical ability to boot.
What hasn't clicked yet under Cotterill isn't clear; five points from safety and with five wins from his first 20 games in charge he's under pressure to find the answer quickly - and on a shoe-string.
Oh, and they've not won at home in three months!
Debuts should be handed to the new recruits whilst Brendan Moloney (thigh), Cunningham (hamstring) and Cohen (knee) remain unavailable.
Watford should name the same XI that beat Barnsley last time out at the Vic'.
Nottingham Forest: Camp; Gunter, Wootton, Higginbotham, Elokobi; Anderson, Guedioura, Moussi, McGugan; McCleary & Miller.
Watford: Loach; Hodson, Mariappa, Nosworthy, Doyley; Murray, Eustace (c), Hogg, Kacaniklic; Garner & Deeney.
Match Officials: (R) Mr J Moss; (ARs) Mr A Newbold & Mr A Watts; (4th) Mr A Madley.
Date:Friday February 10 2012
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