Watford away feels like a proper Cup tie even if playing on a Friday night doesn’t. Getting our game out the way before James Martin has even decided which pullover to gurn in during Saturday Kitchen at least gives the players an extra bit of time off before the next ‘must win’ game, against Wigan on Tuesday evening.
Injuries look like they’re going to have a bigger than desirable hand in team selection with Kevin Bond revealing that all of Bale, Parker and Kaboul have knocks. Ledley won’t be risked and neither Sandro nor Gallas are ready. Cudicini, Rose, Bassong, Dawson, Pienaar, Livermore, Corluka (assuming he’s fit), Kranjcar and Pav at least will probably need to have their boots handy, who else though is a bit of guess. With Giovani apparently on his way and Townsend, Falque and Kane out on loan the list of usual suspects for cup games has thinned a bit.
The normal recent strategy for this sort of tie is to field a team that on paper is just good enough to get through and presumably this time will be no different. Watford will though put up stiff opposition. At home, under lights, live on telly in front of a near sell-out crowd, they’ve got nothing to lose. It’s a break from what has been a bit of a struggle of a season so far. Given all this, we play a weakened side at our peril.
For the home team, Marvin Sordell has been attracting attention up front whilst Adrian Mariappa was apparently the subject of a recent bid from Newcastle, quite a low one though judging by Sean Dyche bringing up the topic of the contents of his son’s piggy bank when asked about it. Mark Yeates is a familiar face and name in midfield. Big things were expected of him at Spurs but he never made it unfortunately. The fact that Chris Iwelumo is still being given a game is a bit of a surprise.
Harry’s going to hot foot it from the courtroom to the touch line apparently, no doubt he’ll receive plenty of words of support from the home fans. You’d think he’d have too much on his mind but perhaps it’s a pleasant distraction from being the centre of attention in Southwark, or maybe he doesn’t want to miss the opportunity for a quick word with Chris Foy; yes it’s him so keep an eye out for some unpunished basketball on the Watford goal line and a veritable wrestling Slam Down at corner kicks.
Our performance in cups this season has been miserable. Defeat at this stage would be extremely annoying. Given the number of all-Premier League ties, it’s definitely a tournament we can go a long way in, we need to play a strong side however, otherwise we’ll get what we deserve. COYS.
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