Football is back!
I know England played twice in the last two weeks, but the ‘football` wasn`t from our lads? Chile`s finest gave us a lesson in passing, movement and finishing and zee Germans did what zee Germans do; taught us a lesson in how to close out a game with optimum efficiency. The only team I hope learned anything from the 180 minutes of lessons is Bolton Wanderers.
The Whites find themselves coming out of the two-week break at the tail-end of a 7-match unbeaten run.
Not to pour any criticism on the streak of results, but the teams involved in those 7-matches- apart from Blackpool- are unlikely to be worrying the Championship front-runners for promotion.
The team we face tomorrow, however, at Vicarage Road- the Hornets of Watford- still are a favourite to make the jump-up to the top-flight, despite their recent run of indifferent results.
Last season, despite their play-off charge later in the campaign, the Wanderers failed to beat any of the top 16 teams in the division, away from home.
That corner, we`re all still wondering if we`ve turned? A win away tomorrow, at Watford? We`ve turned that corner?
‘The break is probably not ideal but it is what it is.
‘We went into it on a high with two wins, which was good, and now we have rested and regrouped and go again into a busy period.
‘Our game-plans away have been good and if we can implement one again at Watford we can get the result we want again.
‘I have been playing in the Championship for quite a long time now and know how tight it is.
‘If you are in touching distance at Christmas, the run of games in the new year can see things change quickly.
‘We know we have to be in striking distance if we are to be where we want to be at the top end.’
Matt Mills making all the right noises to the Bolton News’ Marc Iles before the Vicarage Road trip.
Watford Team News:
Gianfranco Zola is sweating over the fitness of Essaid Belkalem (ankle) and Ikechi Anya (calf). He will definitely be without Almen Abdi (foot) and Tommie Hoban (ankle).
Lewis McGugan will miss Watford’s home clashc through suspension, while Lloyd Doyley is out with a hamstring injury.
McGugan picked up his fifth yellow card of the season at Middlesbrough last time out and serves a one-game ban.
Nyron Nosworthy played in a midweek friendly and could make his first-team comeback after eight months on the sidelines with an Achilles injury.
Player to watch: Troy Deeney
From jail to Wembley in 9-months, the Hornets’ striker has definitely had a colourful football experience.
A product of Walsall’s youth system, Deeney signed for Watford in 2010 for an initial £250,000. After a couple of seasons coming off the bench for Marvin Sordell- you picked the wrong young striker, Coyle- he bagged 20 goals last term as a full-time starter.
He leads the Hornets’ line this season with 7 strikes to-date.
Bolton Wanderers Team News:
Dougie Freedman and the Wanderers will be without Kevin McNaughton for the trip to Watford.
The on-loan Cardiff defender suffered a hamstring injury in the victory over Millwall and is expected to be sidelined for around a month.
Craig Davies will also play no part on Saturday.
Joe Riley, Mark Davies and Stuart Holden are all still dealing with their knee injuries.
Marc Tierney is also still crocked with a injured foot.
Player to watch: Jermaine Beckford
What used to be an ironic chore, now fills me with hope, as I spell Jermaine Beckford in the Player to Watch section.
If you don’t mind reading his name every week, this is his spot to lose.
Match Facts & Stats
Last five games:
07.01.2006 – Watford 0 v 3 Bolton Wanderers
09.09.2006 – Bolton Wanderers 1 v 0 Watford
03.02.2007 – Watford 0 v 1 Bolton Wanderers )
15.09.2012 – Bolton Wanderers 2 v 1 Watford
02.02.2013 – Watford 2 v 1 Bolton Wanderers
I’ve got another sneaky feeling… but do I dare declare it? Go on then 1-2 Whites.
Bolton remain on their travels next Saturday to Middlesbrough, then it’s back to the Reebok twice against Huddersfield and Doncaster.