Watford - Blackpool Preview (A) - November 24
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Blackpool Preview (A) - November 24

WATFORD HEAD to Blackpool`s Bloomfield Road this season to face Michael Appleton`s side - one of the most out-of-form sides in the n.Power Championship.

Despite a good start to the campaign, with a third of the season gone Appleton`s side find themselves languishing somewhat in 12th, a place and three points behind the Hornets with just two wins from their last 10.

Ian Holloway`s surprise move to Crystal Palace was precede by weeks of chaos, according at least to Blackpool skipper, Ian Evatt:

'In the last couple of months, we hadn't really done much training. We had numerous days off - anything from two to five or six at a time,' Evatt told BBC Sport.

'It was as surprising to the lads as anyone else. We're an honest bunch of players and we want to work hard, but at times we weren't doing that. Maybe that's why we had the bad spell that we had."

Former West Bromwich Albion coach and Portsmouth boss Appleton was the man the Seasiders plumped for, and the 36 year-old arrives with a good reputation after overseeing a particularly trying period in Portsmouth`s recent, troubled history.

Forced to retire through injury in 2001, Appleton successfully sued to surgeon who bodged his knee operation for £1.5m several years later after it was ruled that he could have continued playing until 2009 had the surgeon not exacerbated the issue.

Since then the former Manchester United, Preston North End and West Brom midfielder has wasted little time in building a career within the game, first as well-respected coach, and now as a manager in his own right.

With 10 goals in 16 appearances this season, winger Tom Ince will be the man to watch from a Tangerines point of view.

The former Liverpool flyer appears destined for a career in the top-flight, but remains committed to the cause at Bloomfield Road; continually churning out match-winning displays for the Lancashire outfit.

It was Ince`s 90th minute penalty at Ashton Gate which rescued a point for Appleton`s side on Saturday with Steven Davies` spot kick nine minutes earlier seemingly the difference until then.

Midfielder Isaiah Osbourne has quickly become an important part of the side, featuring 13 times in the league thus far, with 11 of those appearances coming as starts.

The imposing 24 year-old midfielder started his career at Aston Villa under Martin O`Neill before moving to Hibernian in the summer for a solitary season, making 30 appearances in the SPL.

Loan spells with Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough and Sheffield Wednesday punctuated the Brummie`s five-year stint at Villa Park.

Brother Isaac, who came through at Coventry City, currently plays in the SPL for Aberdeen.

Attackers Matt Phillips and Gary Taylor-Fletcher both miss out for Blackpool.

Gianfranco Zola is without John Eustace (back), Neuton (ankle), Prince Buaben (thigh), Lloyd Doyley (calf) and Nyron Nosworthy (hamstring).

Fitz Hall is fit and should return in place of Doyley, whilst Jonathan Hogg is suspended, leaving a gap in the centre of midfield.

Alex Geijo and Matej Vydra could come in for Fernando Forestieri and Troy Deeney, as is customary for away trips.

Predicted line-ups:

Gilks; Baptiste, Evatt (c), Cathcart, Crainey; Grandin, Sylvestre, Basham, Ince; K.Phillips & Delfouneso.

Watford: Almunia (c); Ekstrand, Hall, Hoban; Cassetti, Murray, Chalobah, Yeates, Pudil; Geijo & Vydra.

Referee: Mr K Wright.

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

The Journalist

Writer: Tom Bodell Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday November 22 2012

Time: 10:31AM


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