Vital Football

Latest Watford FC News

Preview: Doncaster Rovers (A) - March 11

Preview: Doncaster Rovers (A) - March 11

WATFORD return to Championship action on Tuesday with a trip to south Yorkshire to face Doncaster Rovers after a weekend off-duty.

Beppe Sannino`s Hornets had a good weekend without playing, with play-off contenders Nottingham Forest and Ipswich Town losing, Reading and Brighton playing out a 1-1 draw and Wigan Athletic in F.A Cup action.

Doncaster also enjoyed a good weekend, beating Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield Town 2-0 at the Keepmoat Stadium to put a four-point buffer between themselves and the bottom three as the season enters its final dramatic stage.

Nothing will ever quite live up to the drama that Rovers were involved in on the last day of last season, though, winning promotion back to the Championship at the first attempt in the dying seconds of the League One season after Brentford`s Marcello Trotta struck the bar with the penalty which would have sent the Bees up in their place.

Maintaining their Championship status was always going to be the club`s primary target after a swift return to the second-tier, and at the time of writing, Rovers have every chance of meeting that objective.

The loan return of former fans` favourite Billy Sharp should provide a huge shot in the arm, particularly after Manchester United loanee Kiko Macheda completed his loan spell at the Keepmoat before moving onto Birmingham City.

On loan from Southampton, Sharp scored 40 league goals in just 77 starts for Donny during his first spell with the club, initially signing on loan from Sheffield United before making the move permanent for the bargain fee of £1.1m.

Sharp, 28, joined the Saints in January 2012 as Nigel Adkins looked to bolster his forward options for the final promotion push. Southampton were promoted, but Sharp was on the periphery before finding himself packed off on loan to Nottingham Forest following promotion to the top-flight.

Ten goals in 30 starts for the Tricky Trees was a decent return for the Sheffield-born hitman, but a permanent move was not forthcoming and a loan reunion with Adkins at Reading was fixed up earlier this term.

Sharp has scored twice in his first five starts in his third stint with Rovers, earning a point against Blackpool and setting Doncaster on their way to all three against the Terriers on Saturday.

The January transfer window also saw boss Paul Dickov attempt to tighten up his backline, signing former West Brom pair Abdoulaye Meite and Gabriel Tamas on short-term contracts until the end of the season.

Both players arrive with plenty of top-flight experience, with Meite having previously turned out for Marseille and Bolton, whilst Tamas has played for Galatasaray, Spartak Moscow and Auxerre.

Manchester United goalkeeper Sam Johnstone also arrived on loan, with regular No.1 Ross Turnbull sidelined due to a calf injury.

Johnstone, 20, is taking in his fourth Football League loan stint, having previously spent time with Scunthorpe United, Walsall and
Yeovil Town.

A member of England`s 2010 Under-17 European Championship-winning squad - picked ahead of Stoke`s Jack Butland - Johnstone has recently extended his loan deal with Donny after impressing in his six outings to date, a deal which Dickov described as "crucial".

'It was crucial to extend the loan because Ross isn`t quite ready yet," Dickov told BBC Radio Sheffield.

'Sam has been fantastic since he came in. We keep saying it, he is rated really highly and since he has been here, everyone can see why.'

Dickov will be without Turnbull, as well as Spurs loanee Bongani Khumalo, meaning Tamas and Meite should continue at centre-half.

Fellow centre-backs Jamie McCombe and Rob Jones are also unavailable, whilst former Hornet Harry Forrester is also sidelined.

Watford are without Joel Ekstrand (suspension), Fitz Hall (Achilles) and Almen Abdi (foot), whilst Park Ju-Young and Samba Diakite are both doubts.

Lewis McGugan and Fernando Forestieri returned to training during the week and could be in contention for places in the matchday squad.

Predicted line-ups:

Doncaster Rovers: Johnstone; Quinn, Tamas, Meite, Husband; Duffy, Keegan, Wellens, Cotterill; Brown & Sharp.

Watford: Almunia (c); Doyley, Cassetti, Angella; Anya, Murray, Tozser, Battocchio, Pudil; Deeney & Ranegie.

Kick-off: 19.45

Referee: Mr C Sarginson

Commentary: BBC Three Counties & Hornets Player

Highlights: Hornets Player.



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

Writer:Tom Bodell
Date:Sunday March 9 2014
Time: 2:39PM

Login to post a comment

Recent Watford Articles

Vital Pre-Match - Crystal Palace v Watford

Watford's impressive return to the topflight will see the us looking for a reaction to the defeat to title chasing Spurs a week ago ahead of the FA Cup tie with Leeds next weekend.

Flores Ahead Of Palace

Head coach Quique Sanchez Flores has now held his pre Crystal Palace press conference and confirmed that Watford go into the tie in good spirits.

The Watford FC Walking Wounded - Injury List

Our weekly update looking at the injury table and also comparing with all our competitors in the Premier League.

Match Day Officials v Palace

The Premier League have now announced the Match Day officials that will take charge of the game against Crystal Palace this weekend.

Archived Vital Watford Articles

Vital Watford articles from

Site Journalists

Harry Welch
Profile
KDCallanan
Profile
chrisgwfc
Profile
Colin Cowan
Profile
Alex Moore
Profile

Current Poll (see more polls)

Crystal Palace v Watford
Suggested By:
Watford win0%
Crystal Palace win0%
Draw0%
ScoopDragon Premier League Network Sites

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
1 Leicester City 25 15 8 2 53 20
2 Spurs 25 13 9 3 48 26
3 Arsenal 25 14 6 5 48 17
4 Man City 25 14 5 6 47 21
5 Man Utd 25 11 8 6 41 10
6 West Ham 25 10 9 6 39 9
7 Southampton 25 10 7 8 37 9
8 Everton 25 8 11 6 35 12
9 Liverpool 25 9 8 8 35 -4
10 Watford 25 9 6 10 33 0
11 Stoke 25 9 6 10 33 -7
12 Crystal Palace 25 9 5 11 32 -4
13 Chelsea 25 7 9 9 30 -2
14 WBA 25 7 8 10 29 -9
15 AFC Bournemouth 25 7 7 11 28 -12
16 Swansea 25 6 9 10 27 -9
17 Newcastle 25 6 6 13 24 -18
18 Norwich 25 6 5 14 23 -20
19 Sunderland 25 5 5 15 20 -19
20 Aston Villa 25 3 7 15 16 -20
Latest F1 News
Latest Vital Boxing News

Watford Fixtures (view all)

Feb 13 2016 3:00PM : Crystal Palace (a)
Barclays Premier League
Feb 20 2016 3:00PM : Leeds United (H)
FA Cup
Feb 27 2016 3:00PM : AFC Bournemouth (H)
Barclays Premier League
Mar 2 2016 8:00PM : Manchester United (a)
Barclays Premier League
Mar 5 2016 5:30PM : Leicester City (H)
Barclays Premier League
Mar 12 2016 3:00PM : West Ham United (a)
Barclays Premier League

Recent Watford Results (view all)

Vital Members League Table

RankNamePoints
1.David Allen1