UK time is: 18:59:22
Vital Login
Social Login

Choose your club

Other Sites

Network Navigation

Vital Partners

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

Middlesbrough Preview (A) - January 12

WATFORD return to N.Power Championship action this Saturday as they head to the North East to take on Tony Mowbray's high-flying Middlesbrough.

'Boro sit fourth in the Championship after 26 games and after a couple of seasons of steady progression under the former Hibernian, West Brom and Celtic, this looks like the season they could finally return to the top-flight.

The Teessiders have been in the Championship for four seasons now following relegation but after struggling for home form last season, their imperious form at the Riverside - second best in the division - could well help them back to the Premier League.

With 10 victories in front of their own supporters - second only to Cardiff's 12 - the trip to Middlesbrough this Saturday will serve as a perfect test of Watford's credentials this season.

The Hornets, though, enjoy the joint-second best away form in the division, with six wins on the road - only second-placed Hull City better that with seven.

Even The Football League Show have sat up and taken notice of what could be tasty tie, pencilling the clash in for extended highlights on the Beeb this Saturday evening (or Sunday morning!).

Central to 'Boro's success has been the form of Australian forward, Scott McDonald.

The former Southampton, Huddersfield, Bournemouth, Wimbledon, Motherwell and Celtic forward fell out favour with Mowbray spectacularly in pre-season, meaning he didn't make a first-team appearance until he scored against the 'Orns at the Vic' in October to hand his side victory.

With 10 goals from 20 league and cup appearances, the Australian international has quickly re-established himself as a key part of Mowbray's side.

McDonald's overall record at 'Boro is impressive, with 34 Championship goals in just 90 starts.

Mowbray had previously worked with the diminutive forward at Celtic Park, where the 26-cap Aussie bagged a whopping 51 SPL goals from just 84 starts for the Bhoys.

In the centre of midfield, former Ipswich Town and Sunderland enforcer Grant Leadbitter has missed just one league game so far.

Signed on a free transfer from the Tractor Boys over the summer following the expiry of his contract, the Houghton-le-Spring born midfielder spent six years at Sunderland before returning to the North East this summer.

A combative, box-to-box type, Leadbitter made 112 Championship starts during his time in Suffolk, having been brought to the club by Roy Keane for the princely sum of Ł2.6m.

Leadbitter had also worked under Keane at the Stadium of Light, having come through the club's academy setup before going on to make 111 league starts for the Black Cats before following Keane to Portman Road.

An England U16, U17, U19, U20 & U21 international, Leadbitter helped Sunderland to the Championship title in 2007.

Alongside Leadbitter in midfield is Chelsea loanee, Josh McEachran.

Tipped as the 'bright young thing' emerging from Stamford Bridge a couple of years back, McEachran is finally taking those decisive steps in the game on-loan at the Riverside.

A small, neat, technically-adept, ball-playing midfielder, McEachran has found first-team opportunities hard to come by at Stamford Bridge in spite of the hype surrounding him.

Still jut 19, McEachran spent the second-half of last season on-loan at Brendan Rodgers' Swansea City, making four top-flight appearances in the process.

In 2010 McEachran made his Blues' bow in the Champions League in 2010 - in doing so, he became the first player to play in the competition born after it's inception in 1992.

That December McEachran made his Premier League debut at Chelsea took on Manchester City, and to date, the England U16, U17, U19, and U21 international has made 11 top-flight appearances for the Blues, with a further six appearances in Europe.

Middlesbrough have a string of injury concerns to contend with, including Andrew Halliday (broken nose), Jonathan Woodgate (calf), Justin Hoyte (hip), Julio Arca (toe), Mustafa Carayol (knee) and Curtis Main (knee), all of whom are out.

Furthermore, Seb Hines, Marvin Emnes, Andre Bikey, George Friend, Jorge Ledesma and McEachran will all be assessed ahead of Saturday.

Gianfranco Zola has no such problems with John Eustace, Lloyd Doyley and Nyron Nosworthy all returning to action against Manchester City last Saturday.

Manuel Almunia, Almen Abdi, Fitz Hall, Tommie Hoban Jonathan Hogg remain doubts after missing the trip to the Etihad either through injury or to be rested.

More up-to-date team news is now AVAILABLE HERE.

Referee: Mr M Brown.




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:Thursday January 10 2013

Time: 12:38PM

Your Comments

Great win... Glad I went.... Trip home will be a breeze...
watford1881
 

Have Your Say

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

Recent Watford Articles

Opposing View: Millwall (Thursday October 30 2014)

Watford Take A Point At The Riverside (Saturday October 25 2014)

Stats: Middlesbrough v Watford (Saturday October 25 2014)

Watford 2-2 Forest: A Neutral's View (Wednesday October 22 2014)

Hornets Held By Forest (Wednesday October 22 2014)

PREVIEW: Watford v Forest (Tuesday October 21 2014)

Opposing View: Nottingham Forest (Monday October 20 2014)

Watford Cruise To Win At Hillsborough (Saturday October 18 2014)

Stats: Sheffield Wednesday v Watford (Saturday October 18 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)

League Results (view all)

Latest Results
Watford 1 - 1 Brighton
Watford 3 - 0 Bolton
Sheff Wed 0 - 3 Watford
Norwich 3 - 0 Watford
Middlesbrough 1 - 1 Watford
Charlton 1 - 0 Watford

League Table (view table)

Team P W D L GD Pts
1. Derby County 14 7 5 2 +12 26
2. Watford 14 7 5 2 +11 26
3. Wolves 14 7 5 2 +6 26
4. Bournemouth 14 7 3 4 +14 24
5. Middlesbrough 14 7 3 4 +7 24
6. Norwich 14 6 5 3 +10 23
7. Forest 14 5 7 2 +7 22

Breaking League News

LUFC Redfearn close to becoming new Leeds boss
» Leeds Utd : 30/10/2014 18:47:00
Dunne - We Can Cause An Upset
» Millwall : 30/10/2014 17:47:00
Holloway - Start As If We're Winning
» Millwall : 30/10/2014 17:41:00
Hyypia - Everybody Gave Everything
» Brighton : 30/10/2014 17:29:00
Rich praise for former midfielder
» Middlesbrough : 30/10/2014 16:52:00

Current Site Poll (view all polls)

Who is our greatest ever Player of the Season winning keeper?
Suggested By:  Louis
Andy Rankin 0%
David James 50%
Kevin Miller 0%
Alec Chamberlain 0%
Ben Foster 50%