Burnley Preview (H) - March 29
SEAN DYCHE returns to Vicarage Road on Good Friday with his Burnley team hoping to upset Watford`s final push for Premier League football.
Sacked by the Pozzo family as part of their first act as Watford owners, the former Watford centre-half overcame a difficult start as Watford boss, ending his only season in charge at the Vic` in 11th.
A late flirtation with the play-offs last Easter had the former Millwall, Bristol City, Chesterfield and Northampton Town defender in the good books of the Golden Boys` support, but his success was not enough to save him once Laurence Bassini departed.
However, looking ahead to Friday`s clash, the Easter weekend should provide a much clearer promotion picture with Watford first hosting their former boss before travelling to second-placed Hull City on Tuesday night.
Appointed on October 30, Dyche has overseen 26 games - eight wins, eight draws and 10 defeats - preaching pragmatism over the gung-ho style of play his predecessor Eddie Howe stuck to.
Whilst Howe might not have pulled up trees at Turf Moor, the past and present Bournemouth boss always provided a degree of entertainment, even if a leaky backline was an unhelpful consequence.
Sat 11th, 10 points outside the play-offs, the Clarets appear to have little chance of making the top-six at this stage, but Dyche has begun to mould the squad in his own image and will look to renovate again over the summer ahead of next season.
Indeed, Dyche has made just the one addition since taking up the reins at Turf Moor, signing former Watford loanee Alex Kacaniklic on-loan from Fulham for the remainder of the campaign.
The 21 year-old left-winger impressed during his loan spell in WD18 last term, scoring once in 12 matches for Dyche's side.
First-team opportunities were hard to come by at Craven Cottage, though the seven-cap Swedish international has made 19 appearances for Martin Jol's side this term.
A memorable season for the nippy winger, Kacaniklic scored his first goal for the Cottagers against Norwich City on the opening day of the season, and a first international goal against the Faroe Islands in a World Cup qualifier earlier in the season to boot.
Kacaniklic was also part of the Sweden side which beat Roy Hodgson's England so handsomely in November.
The only other arrival since Howe's euphoric return to the south coast was the pre-agreed signing of American winger Dane Richards - the final component of Howe's legacy at the club.
Watford are without John Eustace (back), Neuton (dislocated shoulder), Tommie Hoban (ankle) and Nyron Nosworthy (Achilles heel).
Both Lloyd Doyley and Matej Vydra have been on international duty as late as Tuesday and could be considered doubts also.
Manuel Almunia and Almen Abdi are both doubts to be assessed in the run-up to the game.
Burnley are without left-back Ben Mee after he was sent-off against Blackburn Rovers before the international break.
Midfielder Dean Marney could be fit to return to the side, whilst David Edgar was left out altogether against Rovers.
Watford: Bond; Ekstrand, Hall, Briggs; Cassetti, Yeates, Battocchio, Chalobah, Pudil; Vydra & Deeney.
Burnley: Grant; Trippier, Shackell (c), Duff, Lafferty; Wallace, Bartley, McCann, Kacaniklic; Paterson & Austin.
Referee: Mr D Coote.
Win FREE pizza with Vital Football!
Select your team and get 50% off if they score twice.