Q&A With Watford

  • February 21, 2014 | By David Williams
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/eec73

Ahead of the 31st meeting between Bolton and Watford on Saturday afternoon, we have got the views of a Hornets supporter.

After drawing at Millwall last weekend, Wanderers welcome last season's beaten play-off finalists to the Reebok Stadium - as they look to secure a first league win in 10 attempts, dating back to Boxing Day.

In our latest edition of Q&A, we have spoken to Bradley Pullin. Ahead of Saturday's game, Bradley shares his views on why Giuseppe Sannino looks like a good replacement for Gianfranco Zola, which Wanderers player he would like to see at Vicarage Road and why the Trotters' 'shocking' away kit is a good enough reason to warrant relegation to League One.

Q: Watford began the season as one of the favourites for promotion. What has been your assessment of the season so far?

A: So very frustrating. We were very confident of promotion during pre-season, despite losing arguably two of our better players - Nathaniel Chalobah and Matej Vydra. On paper, it seemed as though we had replaced them with enough quality but that wasn't the case.

Defensively, under Zola, we had been all over the place. Last year we got away with it playing our 'we'll score more than you' attitude. However, losing the pace and composure of Vydra, as well as the inconsistent form of Troy Deeney, put that to bed.

However, under Giuseppe Sannino, we have worked tirelessly on our defensive issues and, in fairness, it seems to have worked - having only conceded one goal in our last five home games. This, however, comes at a price. A consequence of that has been a disappointing lack of attacking football, but I'm sure Watford fans would rather sacrifice our so called 'sexy football' for efficient but perhaps less glamorous performances. That is, after all, how you get promoted - grinding out results and being defensively solid, a la Cardiff City and Hull City last season.

Q: Likewise, Bolton were also one of the favourites last August. How do you see the rest of our season panning out?

A: I'm very surprised as to where you guys are in the table. I certainly predicted you'd be pushing for the play-offs this year, but, as we all know, the Championship doesn't quite work like that.

This year has probably been the most competitive for play-off spots in terms of the quality of some of the teams in this league. Home form is imperative for any club looking to gain promotion in this league and from looking at the results, it seems like that's where you're going wrong.

On paper, much like ourselves, it seems like a decent squad with a manager who should be more than capable of getting you heading in the direction you want.

I see you guys finishing lower mid-table, but comfortably avoiding relegation. There's definitely quite a few worse teams than Bolton, although you probably do deserve to be relegated for that shocking away kit alone!

Q: Giuseppe Sannino took over from Gianfranco Zola in December. Did you think Zola should have been sacked?

A: I was very disappointed to see Zola go. He completely changed Watford's footballing philosophy, with a bit of help from Udinese and Granada, I might add!

The change in style was a joy to watch last season, but unfortunately it didn't quite work out this year. Losing 3-0 at home to Yeovil Town was a particular low, among quite a few other embarrassing home performances, although the players must take a certain amount of stick for this as well.

As sad as it was to see Zola depart, it was probably the right decision. We were shipping goals like nobody's business and it couldn't go on any longer. Luckily, Beppe Sannino seems to have taken control of that problem, which finally has us looking up rather than down. But it all seems to have happened a bit too late for a last minute dash for the play-offs.

Q: Which Watford player has stood out this season and why?

A: Fernando Forestieri has been our stand-out performer so far this season, in my opinion. He struggled a bit last year with the physicality and pace of the Championship but it looks like he's got the hang of it now. He's got all the tricks and is finally adding some goals to his performances. That, along with his fantastic work rate has been really impressive this year. However, sometimes his finishing and decision making can let him down.

Hungarian defensive midfielder Daniel Tozser has also impressed since joining us on loan last month. He's very good at retaining the ball and looks like a natural leader, which we've been missing. Also, look out for Gabrielle Angella - who joined from Udinese (obviously) in the summer. He's a very composed centre-back and also a real danger from set pieces.

Q: Who do you think Watford should be most worried about in the Bolton squad and why?

A: Bolton posses some dangerous players - Jermaine Beckford being an obvious example. I understand he hasn't had the most prolific of seasons but he's a proven goal scorer and could trouble our defence.

One player I've always rated is Adam Bogdan. I would love to have him at Watford. It looks as though he's shown some good performances this year.

Former Hornet Chris Eagles is another I would look out for, as we know the quality he can deliver - albeit fairly inconsistently in recent years.

Q: Finally, what is your score prediction for Saturday's game?

A: Tough one. You don't seem to win at home and we don't tend to lose away, which means you'll probably win 6-0!

Realistically, though, I think it will be a very close game and can see it ending in a Watford away special - '1-1'.

Both teams are struggling for goals so it could go either way. I've never been to the Reebok Stadium, so I'm really looking forward to this game. I've always had a soft spot for Bolton so hope your fortunes pick up, after Saturday of course.

Burnden Aces would like to thank Bradley for taking the time to answer our questions. You can read more from him on Twitter - @BPullinwfc.

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
8 Burton Albion 13 19
9 Oxford United 12 18
10 Bolton Wanderers 13 18
11 Accrington Stanley 12 16
12 Portsmouth 12 15
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