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Preview: Blues v Watford

Our match preview ahead of this weekend's game against Watford.

BCFC

Blues are back on home soil as they face a Watford side who are looking to make an immediate return to the Premier League.

The matchup comes on the back of both sides picking up three points in their most recent Sky Bet Championship matches. Blues overcame Reading on the road, whilst the Hornets saw off Rotherham United 2-0.

Victory over the Royals made it two in a row for Blues, meanwhile Watford’s success was there first in three outings but, aided by results elsewhere, took the Hertfordshire outfit up to third in the table.

Therefore, with both teams looking to build on midweek successes, it is expected to be a competitive affair at St. Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium as the teams meet for the first time since 2015.

As well as hoping to claim the three points, Blues will be determined to keep up their proud defensive record of conceding less than a goal a game this season but will come up against a Watford side who have leaked the second-fewest goals in the division.

THE OPPOSITION:

Blues will take on a Watford side led by Vladimir Ivic who joined the Yellow Army when he left Maccabi Tel Aviv after he had guided them to a second successive Israeli league title. Arriving in August, he replaced Nigel Pearson and, in the process, became the eighth permanent occupant of the Vicarage Road hot seat since the two teams last faced off.

Recently nominated for November’s Championship Manager of the Month gong, the Serbian has made a good start to life in English football with his team winning just under half of their opening 17 league matches. This has included a victory over Luton Town, in what was the first meeting between the fierce rivals in 14 years.

The matchwinner on that September afternoon was Brazillian Joao Pedro, a forward who is looking to follow in the footsteps of former Hornet and fellow countryman Richarlison by starring for Watford.

With five goals already to his name this term, he is ably supported by Birmingham-born Troy Deeney. The senior pro who has made over 400 Watford appearances is accompanied by a number of other seasoned campaigners, many of which were mainstays in their top-flight stint between 2015 and 2020. These include none other than Blues Carling Cup winner Ben Foster who is in his third season with the club.

LAST TIME OUT:

Blues made it back-to-back wins for the second time this season at high-flying Reading. Hoping to build on their weekend win at Bristol City Aitor Karanka’s side cruised into a 2-0 half-time lead, with Jon Toral twice finding the net in classy style.

The second half proved less easy-going and when the home side pulled one back their tails were well and truly up. Their efforts were boosted further when they were awarded a penalty and Harlee Dean was dismissed. But the pendulum swung back in Blues’ favour when Neil Etheridge saved Lucas Joao’s spot-kick to ensure the three points returned to the West Midlands.

The night before Watford had reminded the division of their capabilities with a comfortable win over Rotherham United. Playing their second home game in four days, the Hornets found themselves two up after a quarter of an hour. First, Christian Kabasele scored from a corner, before Deeney made it two 11 minutes later as Watford sent their 2,000 socially-distanced fans home happy.

WE MEET AGAIN:

Blues 2 Watford 1, 04 November 2014

Blues will be hoping for a repeat result when Watford visit St. Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium for the first time in six years.

Under the management of Gary Rowett Blues ensured the Hornets, who started the game in top spot, left the West Midlands empty handed thanks to a Clayton Donaldson double.

The first of the frontman’s brace came after just 80 seconds had been played. Moving the ball out wide he continued his run into the box and was the grateful recipient of Stephen Gleeson's centre to score in front of the Gil Merrick. However, still adapting to the methods of the newly appointed Rowett, Blues were pegged back with their lead lasting just five minutes as Fernando Forestieri scored at the second time of asking.

However, these early strikes did not prompt a goal fest with supporters of both sides left waiting until the 85th minute for further change. Fortunately, for Blues fans, it was worth the wait. Picked out by David Cotterill, Donaldson found himself unmarked in the penalty area to power his header into the corner.

BLUES TEAM NEWS:

Adam Clayton (ankle), Zach Jeacock (ankle) remain unavailable and Caolan Boyd-Munce (thigh), Dean (suspended). Clean bill of health, elsewhere.

HEAD-TO-HEAD:

Blues wins: 17

Draws: 9

Watford wins: 20

LAST FIVE MEETINGS:

Championship 18 Apr 2015 – Watford 1 Blues 0

Championship 4 Nov 2014 – Blues 2 Watford 1

Championship 11 Feb 2014 – Watford 1 Blues 0

Championship 3 Aug 2013 – Blues 0 Watford 1

Championship 16 Feb 2013– Blues 0 Watford 4

BLUESTV:

Supporters can watch this game live on BluesTV for only £10.

MATCH OFFICIALS:

Referee - Matthew Donohue

Assistant Referees - Mark Russell and George Byrne

Fourth Official - Peter Gibbons

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