Writer: Tom Bodell
Date:Thursday December 20 2012
WATFORD HOST Nottingham Forest at Vicarage Road this Saturday as they look to climb back into the Championship's top-six.
Forest sit just two places and a point behind the Hornets in ninth, having enjoyed a good start to life under new boss, Sean O'Driscoll.
Irishman O'Driscoll, 55, was appointed as Steve Cotterill's replacement in July after the former Portsmouth, Burnley and Notts County boss was dismissed by the club's new owners, the Al-Hasawi's.
The decision looks very much vindicated, with Forest flying high still after beginning the season as one of the division's early pace-setters.
Transfer policy under O'Driscoll has been very different to that under the Pozzo's ownership, with the former Doncaster Rovers and Bournemouth boss sticking to players with Football League experience.
Former Rovers midfielder Simon Gillett was one of the first to follow his former boss to the City Ground, signing on a free transfer from the Yorkshire club.
A hard-working but effective ball-user, Gillett has quickly established himself as a regular in the centre of Forest's midfield, making 21 starts and one substitute appearance to date.
Gillett, 27, made 74 league starts for Donny during a two-year spell under O'Driscoll having initially joined the club on-loan.
The 5'4 playmaker had previously turned out for Southampton and five other sides on loan before joining the South Yorkshire outfit.
Former Watford loanee Henri Lansbury has also joined Forest this summer, signing on a permanent basis from Arsenal for a fee believed to be £1m.
The England U21 international spent the 2009/10 season on-loan in WD18, excellent in the centre of midfield under Malky Mackay.
Capable of playing wide as well as centrally, the 22 year-old has also enjoyed loan spells with Scunthorpe United, Norwich City and latterly West Ham - where he won promotion to the Premier League last term.
An intelligent user of the football with a great engine and an eye for goal, Lansbury will be fondly-remembered by Hornet's supporters.
O'Driscoll pepped up his striking options with the capture of Simon Cox from Premier League West Brom.
The 5'11 Reading-born forward had endured a frustrating three years at the Hawthorns, having joined in a £1.5m switch from Swindon Town.
Now a 21-cap Republic of Ireland international, Cox made just 32 league starts in three years at Albion, with a further 33 appearances coming from the bench.
The live-wire forward has bagged five league and cup goals so far for his new team, with the last of those coming in the East Midland's derby against Leicester on November 10.
Watford are without John Eustace (back), Lloyd Doyley (calf), Prince Buaben (thigh), Neuton (ankle), Fernando Forestieri (hamstring) and Jonathan Bond.
Nyron Nosworthy is back in training but the clash will come too soon for him.
The Tricky Trees are without the services of Jermaine Jenas (calf) & Sam Hutchinson (knee), whilst the aforementioned Cox is available for selection once more.
Watford: Almunia (c); Ekstrand, Hall, Hoban; Cassetti, Abdi, Hogg, Chalobah, Pudil; Deeney & Vydra.
Nottingham Forest: Camp; Hutton, Ayala, Collins, Harding; Guediroa, Moussi, Cohen, Reid; Blackstock & Sharp.
Referee: Mr N Swarbrick.
Date:Thursday December 20 2012
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Watford v Leeds United starting XIs (Tuesday April 8 2014)
Preview: Watford v Leeds United (Tuesday April 8 2014)
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