Writer: Tom Bodell
Date:Friday April 20 2012
WATFORD END their travels for the season with a trip to Peterborough United's London Road this season.
The Hornets will be looking to better last season's points tally - they're just a point off that target as things stand, whilst Peterborough will be looking to finish the season as high as possible.
After spending just one season in the Championship two years ago, the Posh have done enough this season secure survival but can only finish as high as 17th.
That's not to say that the achievement of survival is to be sniffed at, far from it in fact. After their dismal showing in 2009/10, this has been relatively comfortable for Darren Ferguson's side.
Most impressively though is the continued implementation of the club's tried-and-tested transfer policy. Whilst countless clubs run up insurmountable debts on over-paid and under-performing 'names', Peterborough invest less heavily in potential and chiefly, players who are good value for money.
The January Transfer Window for example, saw just two pieces of inbound business with Macclesfield defender Shaun Brisley signing on loan and Crawley Town hitman Tyrone Barnett penning a loan deal with a permanent deal set for the summer.
Admirably, the lower leagues have become the domain of much of United's business and the model has served the extremely well. George Boyd who joined from then non-league Stevenage looks set to depart London Road this summer however, having failed to agree a new contract.
The winger-cum-forward has rammed in 58 league goals from wide midfield in 223 league starts for the club since signing in January 2007.
A modern stalwart of the club, 'The White Pele' will be transfer listed to avoid him departing on a bosman next summer.
Maverick forward Paul Taylor will also be transfer listed unless he agrees a new deal with the club having impressed during his first season in the Championship.
The former Manchester City and Anderlecht forward has 11 goals in 34 league starts this season and recently rejected a four year deal which would make him the best-paid player at the club.
With only five senior defenders on the books, Ferguson will surely be looking to strengthen his backline this summer, especially after the loss of Ryan Bennett to Norwich City in January.
Brisley is joined at the back by Mark Little, Gabriel Zakuani, Craig Alcock and Kgosi Ntlhe, a South African who is yet to make his professional debut.
That number is shortened by a season-ending injury to Zakuani, meaning Alcock is the club's only recognised centre-back. Brisley should partner him with winger Tommy Rowe filling in at left-back.
Sean Dyche will welcome Adrian Mariappa back into the matchday squad but he's unlikely to dislodge Martin Taylor from the side.
Peterborough United: Jones; Little, Alcock, Brisley, Rowe; McCann (c); Frecklington, Boyd; Newell; Taylor & Barnett.
Watford: Kuszczak; Doyley, Taylor, Nosworthy, Dickinson; Buaben, Eustace (c), Hogg, Murray; Iwelumo & Deeney.
Referee: Mr P Gibbs
Date:Friday April 20 2012
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Preview: Leeds United (A) - December 7 (Thursday December 5 2013)
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