Date:Thursday March 7 2013
WATFORD host Paul Ince's Blackpool this Saturday as they look to build on three points in midweek against Sheffield Wednesday.
The Hornets face the Seasiders with a less-than-impressive recent record against the Lancastrian outfit, winning just once in the 21st Century against the Tangerines, but drawing five of those meetings.
Indeed, when the two sides get together in the Football League, more often than not the games end in a tie, with nine of the 19 fixtures ending in stalemates.
However with Blackpool arriving on a run of a just two npower Championship victories in 14 matches and Watford unbeaten in seven, Gianfranco Zola could be forgiven for feeling more confident of a positive outcome this weekend.
It's been a topsy-turvy season for the 'Pool, currently on their third manager of the season in Ince after Ian Holloway and Michel Appleton both jumped ship, the gradual decline from league-leaders in early September to relegation candidates in the final third of the season is worrying.
For the incoming Ince, the remit is simple: make sure last season's play-off finalists aren't relegated.
Perched just five places and as many points above the drop-zone, it's certain to be a nervy run-in for Blackpool, who led the Championship for the first four weeks of the season under Holloway.
When Holloway departed for Crystal Palace on November 3, chairman Karl Oyston recruited the highly thought of young Portsmouth boss, Appleton.
Appleton, 37, and appointed just over a month after 'Olly's' departure, spent just 66 days in charge at Bloomfield Road before heading 30 miles west to take up the hot-seat at Blackburn Rovers.
After a 37-day wait, Blackpool were in business again when Ince was appointed manager on February 18, ending a two-year exile from the game which had seen him sacked by League One Notts County in 2011.
Highly-thought of in the managerial world after hugely successful stints at Macclesfield and MK Dons, Ince stepped up to the Premier League in 2008, overseeing just 21 games in charge of Blackburn Rovers before being sacked.
Short-lived spells back at MK Dons and with the Magpies followed before his appointment at Bloomfield Road.
The former England midfielder was hardly Oyston's first-choice, with very public rejections from Sean O'Driscoll and Billy Davies for the manager's job.
Central to Blackpool's survival chances will be the manager's son, Thomas.
The club's top-scorer this term with 17 goals, Liverpool academy graduate has racked up an extremely-enviable 23 Championship goals from just 54 starts for the Tangerines.
That form has unsurprisingly had bigger clubs sniffing round the 21 year-old England U21 international, who appeared to be destined for a £6m Anfield return in January, only for the move to collapse.
Nevertheless, a return to the top-flight appears inevitable for the pacey, dynamic wide-man, who can also function up front.
Signed as part of the deal which took former 'Pool midfielder Charlie Adam to Merseyside for a solitary season, Blackpool certainly drew one of the longer straws in that deal.
Watford could be without Manuel Almunia once more, but if the Spaniard is fit, Zola will have to pick between his first-team captain and the in-form Jonathan Bond.
Up front Fernando Forestieri will be pushing hard for a start after his midweek brace, as will Nathaniel Chalobah.
Lloyd Doyley could return to the backline, whilst the place of Jonathan Hogg is under threat.
Neuton, Connor Smith, Fitz Hall, Tommie Hoban and John Eustace are all sidelined.
Blackpool will be without midfielder Chris Basham who has fractured his cheekbone and eye socket.
New loan signing Marko Futacs could start in place of experienced forward Gary Taylor-Fletcher who was forced off with injury in the 1-1 draw at Birmingham in midweek.
Watford: Bond; Ekstrand, Nosworthy, Cassetti; Anya, Chalobah, Battocchio, Abdi, Pudil; Forestieri & Deeney.
Blackpool: Gilks; Baptiste, Broadfoot, McKenzie, Crainey; Eardley, Ferguson, Martinez, Phillips; Ince & Futacs.
Referee: Mr A Madley.
Date:Thursday March 7 2013
Watford start 2013/14 campaign at Birmingham City (Wednesday June 19 2013)
2012/13 Season Review - December (Tuesday June 18 2013)
2012/13 Season Review - November (Monday June 17 2013)
Watford draw Bristol Rovers in League Cup (Monday June 17 2013)
2012/13 Season Review - October (Friday June 14 2013)
2012/13 Season Review - September (Thursday June 13 2013)
2012/13 Season Review - August (Wednesday June 12 2013)
Udinese forward Fabbrini linked with Watford (Tuesday June 11 2013)
VIDEO: I Was Unprepared For Championship - Zola (Tuesday June 11 2013)
OFFICIAL: Scholar Luke O'Nien turns pro' (Friday June 7 2013)
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