UK time is: 16:19:54
Vital Login
Social Login

Choose your club

Other Sites

Network Navigation

Vital Partners

'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Crystal Palace Preview (A) - August 18

WATFORD HEAD to their bogey ground tomorrow (Saturday) to face Dougie Freedman`s Crystal Palace in their opening fixture of the 2012/13 n.Power Championship campaign.

It has of course been an excessively busy off-season both on and away from the field for the Hornets with a change of owner, management, backroom staff and a number of new additions to the first-team squad as well as the news that the club will only apply for EPPP Category 3 status.

In south London it`s been a different story however with Freedman quietly going about improving a squad which after a bright start to last season fell away badly, finishing 17th in the Championship.

Freedman has enjoyed some success in the summer`s transfer market, bringing in the highly-coveted Joel Ward from Portsmouth for 400k. The 22 year-old was the Eagles first signing of the summer, wrapped up before May was even over. Ward spent six years with cash-strapped Portsmouth, working his way through the youth ranks and into the first-team where he became a regular under Steve Cotterill and Michael Appleton, largely thanks to his versatility. It looks likely however that Palace will utilise the former Bournemouth loanee at right-back this term.

Next to sign permanently was former Norwich City, MK Dons, Hull City & Stockport County target man, Aaron Wilbraham, or 'Wilbrahimavic` as Canaries supporters dubbed the 32 year-old forward last season. It took the 6`3 striker until April to make his first Premier League start at Spurs, but by that time the rangy striker had already bagged the 100th goal of his career, joining an elite list of players to have scored in all four divisions in the process.

A month later former Queens Park Rangers and Newcastle United defender Peter Ramage penned a permanent contract with Palace having spent part of last season on-loan, impressing during 17 loan appearances before making another 14 appearances for Birmingham City during the second-half of the campaign. The Whitley Bay-born defender came through the youth ranks at St James` Park before going on to make 51 appearances for the Magpies. Ramage is equally adept at both right and centre-back.

Freedman also added one loan addition in the former of Southampton`s highly-rated young centre-back, Aaron Martin. The 22 year-old signed on a season-long loan from the Saints where has made 20 first-team appearances so far after joining from local side Eastleigh. Born in Newport on the Isle of Wight, Martin is highly-rated by Saints` supporters and staff alike and will be looking to build on his first-team experience with the Eagles this season.

One big loss was that of experienced midfielder Darren Ambrose. The former Newcastle, Charlton Athletic & Ipswich Town made was important again last season, scoring the wonder goal which knocked Manchester United out the Carling Cup. However, after a successful spell at Palace, he was allowed to join Birmingham City this summer for a substantial figure.

Home-grown full-back Nathaniel Clyne also departed following the expiry of his contract, joining Nigel Adkins` Southampton for a seven-figure fee before going to tribunal.

Gianfranco Zola could very well be without Alex Geijo and Sean Murray for the season`s opener, Murray has a calf problem while Geijo is not fit. Steve Leo Beleck is not yet fit whilst Stephen McGinn and Fitz Hall both have knocks.

Predicted line-ups:

Crystal Palace:
Speroni; Ward, Martin, McCarthy (c), Parr; Zaha, Marrow, Garvan, Dikgacoi, Moxey; Wilbraham.

Watford: Almunia; Hodson, Nosworthy, Taylor, Pudil; Hogg, Eustace (c), Abdi; Yeates, Iwelumo & Vydra.

Referee: Mr A D`Urso.




Use your social login to comment on front page articles. Login using you Facebook, Twitter, Google or LinkedIn accounts and have your say!



Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Tom Bodell Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday August 17 2012

Time: 10:03AM

Your Comments

Really looking forward to this clash... Not only the season opener but a game which in the passed has been a goal fest... I'm going for a 0-2 to the Hornets.. Fingers crossed for opening 3 points..
watford1881
 

Have Your Say

Log in...
with your social network     OR     with your Vital account

Recent Watford Articles

OFFICIAL: Keith Andrews Signs (Thursday July 24 2014)

Pre-Season Update (Sunday July 6 2014)

OFFICIAL: Vydra re-signs on loan (Thursday June 26 2014)

OFFICIAL: Lloyd Dyer Signs (Monday June 16 2014)

2013/14: Fans' Review (Sunday June 8 2014)

The 1881: Legends Flag Poll (Wednesday June 4 2014)

Nani Thanks Released Players (Wednesday June 4 2014)

Archived Watford Articles

List All Vital Watford Articles
Have your say
Click here to suggest an article
Click here to suggest a poll

Vital Members League (view all)

1. ANDY710 1

League Results (view all)

Latest Results

League Table (view table)

Team P W D L GD Pts
18. Norwich 0 0 0 0 0 0
19. Reading 0 0 0 0 0 0
20. Rotherham 0 0 0 0 0 0
21. Sheff Wed 0 0 0 0 0 0
22. Watford 0 0 0 0 0 0
23. Wigan 0 0 0 0 0 0
24. Wolves 0 0 0 0 0 0

Breaking League News

Opinion: 5 Players Clark Should Sign
Birmingham : 25/07/2014 12:14:00
Kidderminster v Birmingham City
Birmingham : 25/07/2014 11:54:00
Sevilla Join Fer Chase
Norwich : 25/07/2014 11:29:00
Vulnerable Valiant.
Charlton : 25/07/2014 11:09:00
Cherries unveil new third kit
Bournemouth : 25/07/2014 10:14:00

Current Site Poll (view all polls)

Will Troy Deeney be a Watford player come September 1st?
Suggested By:  Editor
Yes 75%
No 25%