Vital Football

Latest Watford FC News

Preview: Bournemouth (A) - January 18

Preview: Bournemouth (A) - January 18

WATFORD will look to build on Tuesday's victory over Bristol City as they head to Bournemouth on Saturday with the rare opportunity of completing a league double.

It will be a tough test for Beppe Sannino's men, with Eddie Howe's Cherries possessing a impressive record at the Goldsands this season.

Four of the south coast outfit's six Championship wins have come in front of their own supporters, with a two further cup victories at the Goldsands to boot.

Watford's own away record has been better than at home throughout their recent struggle, with only two away defeats all season, the last of which came at Blackburn in October.

Sat in 16th with a nine point cushion between themselves and the relegation zone, the Hornets are only above the Cherries on goal difference.

It's certainly fair to suggest that both sides have come back down to earth with a bump since the meeting at Vicarage Road back in August.

The Hornets were 6-1 winners that day, but at 1-1, it was the newly-promoted side who were on top before a flurry of three goals in 12 minutes put Watford out of reach.

It's been a quiet transfer window for Bournemouth so far, with utility man Wes Fogden joining Portsmouth and forward Wes Thomas joining Rotherham United for an undisclosed fee following a whistle-top loan tour of the Football League.

The real news surrounds top-scorer Lewis Grabban - who struck at the Vic' last August - and whether or not the Cherries will be able to keep their 10-goal striker at the Goldsands.



At 26, Grabban is something of a late bloomer, but the Croydon-born forward has repaid the faith that the Cherries showed in him when splashing out £300,000 in May 2013.

Twenty-three league goals in 62 starts is a decent return for the Crystal Palace trainee, who had never hit double figures in the league before a spell at Rotherham between 2011 & 2012.

Three separate loan spells at Brentford during the 2010/11 campaign brought Grabban seven goals in 20 starts, but it was his season with Rotherham where the 6ft forward made a name for himself.

Signed from arch-rivals Crystal Palace by Millwall for £150,000 in 2008, Grabban scored nine league goals in three years with the Lions before joining the Millers on a free transfer.

STOP PRESS: Grabban has been in talks with Brighton & Hove Albion since yesterday after Oscar Garcia triggered his £1.1m release clause, and Vital Watford understand that the forward will join the Seagulls later today (Friday).

Another man who will be similarly important in the club's fight to retain their Championship status is winger Matt Ritchie, who has already scored five times in the league since making his return in late November.

Signed from League One rivals Swindon Town for £400,000 last January to help boost the Cherries' promotion bid, Ritchie suffered a thigh problem in pre-season which, with the aid of several setbacks, delayed his arrival on the scene this season.

The 24 year-old began his career with south coast rivals Portsmouth, but made just three starts for Pompey and was loaned out to Dagenham & Redbridge, Notts County and Swindon (twice) before the Robins made the switch permanent.

Ritchie rewarded Swindon's faith with a series of superb displays, scoring 23 times in 89 appearance during his two-year stay with the club.



Predominantly a left-sided player, Ritchie is also capable of playing on the right, or in the centre as an attacking midfielder, and his return of five goals in just nine starts since returning from injury underlines his importance to Howe.

Watford are without long-term absentees Essaid Belkalem, Tommie Hoban and Reece Brown, but Almen Abdi should make the 18 after getting on against Bristol City in midweek.

Alexander Merkel is suspended and Marco Cassetti is a doubt.

Similarly, Davide Faraoni and Ikechi Anya both made their returns from injury and the duo should start once more.

The main question is whether Sannino will prefer Diego Fabbrini or Fernando Forestieri up front.

Predicted line-ups:

Bournemouth: Camp; Francis, Cook, Ward, Daniels; Ritchie, O'Kane, Arter, Surman, Pugh; Grabban.

Watford: Almunia (c); Doyley, Angella, Ekstrand; Faraoni, McGugan, Iriney, Murray, Anya; Deeney & Forestieri.

Kick-off: 15.00

Referee: Mr C Boyeson

Commentary: BBC Three Counties & Hornets Player

Highlights: The Football League Show (BBC1 @ 23.45) & Hornets Player

Win FREE pizza with Vital Football!
Select your team and get 50% off if they score twice.
www.papajohns.co.uk/football



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

Writer:Tom Bodell
Date:Thursday January 16 2014
Time: 9:59AM

Best of Vital Network

Login to post a comment

Recent Watford Articles

Porto Expected To Complete Layun Move

It's being reported that Porto are in the final stages of turning fullback Miguel Layun's loan spell into a permanent one this summer.

Chelsea Loanee Ake Reflects On Watford Spell

Ake's final appearance for Watford came in a two-two draw with Sunderland, with the Chelsea defender ending with 28 appearances for the Hornets to his name in total.

When Does 2016/17 Start For Watford (23/5/16)

With the curtain fully drawn on the 2015/16 season and only the Championship Play Off Final to go to complete next year's top flight teams, here's when the new season...

Liverpool Signing Completed

Watford have now signed Liverpool teenager Jerome Sinclair.

Archived Vital Watford Articles

Vital Watford articles from

Site Journalists

Harry Welch
Editor email
Profile
KDCallanan
no email
Profile
chrisgwfc
no email
Profile
Colin Cowan
no email
Profile
Alex Moore
no email
Profile

Current Poll (see more polls)

Sunderland MotM
Suggested By: Site Staff
Gomes5%
Cathcart0%
Prodl1%
Britos0%
Ake4%
Abdi26%
Guedioura1%
Watson0%
Jurado2%
Ighalo1%
Deeney57%
Sub - Paredes0%
Sub - Suarez1%
Sub - Amrabat2%
ScoopDragon Premier League Network Sites

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
C Leicester City 38 23 12 3 81 32
2 Arsenal 38 20 11 7 71 29
3 Spurs 38 19 13 6 70 34
4 Man City 38 19 9 10 66 30
5 Man Utd 38 19 9 10 66 14
6 Southampton 38 18 9 11 63 18
7 West Ham 38 16 14 8 62 14
8 Liverpool 38 16 12 10 60 13
9 Stoke 38 14 9 15 51 -14
10 Chelsea 38 12 14 12 50 6
11 Everton 38 11 14 13 47 4
12 Swansea 38 12 11 15 47 -10
13 Watford 38 12 9 17 45 -10
14 WBA 38 10 13 15 43 -14
15 Crystal Palace 38 11 9 18 42 -12
16 AFC Bournemouth 38 11 9 18 42 -22
17 Sunderland 38 9 12 17 39 -14
R Newcastle 38 9 10 19 37 -21
R Norwich 38 9 7 22 34 -28
R Aston Villa 38 3 8 27 17 -49
Latest F1 News
Latest Vital Boxing News

Recent Watford Results (view all)

Vital Members League Table

RankNamePoints
1.Kevwicks1