Brighton & Hove Albion Preview (H) - September 18
WATFORD WILL be looking for home comforts this Tuesday as they host high-flyers Brighton and Hove Albion off the back of a three match losing streak in both cup and league.
The Hornets have failed miserably to deal with set pieces, a problem which has haunted them notably in each game, but throughout the season as a whole.
Brighton on the other hand are having no such problems, and despite losing their first two games of the season in both league and cup, Gus Poyet`s side are currently enjoying a four-match unbeaten run, with their last three matches all ending in victory.
Something has evidently clicked for the Seagulls in recent weeks as they march up the Championship table and currently sit third in the league with just Blackpool and Blackburn ahead of them.
The summer of 2012 was a busy one for Poyet who made eight additions to his squad - including former Watford loanee Tomasz Kuszczak on a free transfer - as well as letting eight players move on. One loss that will not have been voluntary however was that of winger Craig Noone, who joined Cardiff City for a seven-figure fee.
Taking up the creative reins, somewhat surprisingly, has been Spanish right-back Bruno. The 31 year-old was signed on a free transfer from La Liga giants Valencia over the summer and has settled into English football with the upmost ease.
Providing two assists for Craig Mackail-Smith and Will Buckley in the 3-0 trouncing of Sheffield Wednesday on Friday night, the marauding full-back has proved to be as dangerous going forward as he is solid in defence.
On the other side Wayne Bridge has also added an unexpected attacking impetus, bagging two goals since joining the Sussex club on a season-long loan, his first league strikes since his Chelsea days, some eight years ago.
The 31 year-old former England international is a classy operator down the left flank and brings bagfuls of experience to the AmEx Stadium after making over 300 Premier League appearances during an established career.
Bridge spent part of last term on-loan at Sunderland, making eight appearances for the Black Cats.
Further up the field, experienced Championship promotion-getter Stephen Dobbie looks to be an incredibly shrewd addition. Having helped both Blackpool and Swansea City out of the Championship in recent seasons, the 29 year-old left the Swans after three years in south Wales for an undisclosed fee.
A Rangers academy graduate, Dobbie brings goals and a genuine directness with him to Brighton and can slot into a number of attacking positions behind the main striker or indeed, leading the line.
Poyet is unlikely to tinker with the side which swept Wednesday apart last week, with Andrew Crofts the only injury doubt for the visitors.
Gianfranco Zola has a number of personnel issues to contend with, including Fitz Hall who has suffered a minor injury as he works his way back to fitness.
Prince Buaben (thigh) and John Eustace (back) are both definitely out whilst Geoffrey Mujangi Bia and Alex Geijo are doubts.
Watford: Almunia; Doyley, Nosworthy, Neuton, Pudil; Yeates, Hogg, Abdi; Murray, Iwelumo (c) & Vydra.
Brighton & Hove Albion: Kuszczak; Bruno, Greer (c), El-Abd, Bridge; Hammond, Briductt; Mackail-Smith, Dicker, Buckley; Barnes.
Referee: Mr D Drysdale.