The Championship returns from the international break on Friday night when two sides who haven’t had the desired start to the season meet as Derby County host Watford at Pride Park, with both looking to kick a busy few weeks into life with a win.
Derby’s win over Norwich just prior to the international break was the first points they have picked up in the Championship this season while Watford headed into the break off the back of a disappointing defeat to Reading.
Where to watch
The match will be shown live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Football with the build up to the contest beginning at 7pm and the match itself starting at 7.45pm.
In many ways the start to the season for Derby County has been a continuation of the end of last season as a young squad have been found lacking a little bit, not helped in any way by injuries during both spells. I suspect expectation could be an issue as well. When you sign a player of the calibre of Wayne Rooney and he is in your side there is an expectation to win football matches regardless of the support cast that is around him.
The obvious concern for Derby is a lack of goals. They have only found the back of the net twice in the four Championship matches that they have played and if that doesn’t change soon something is going to have to give, and it will most likely be the position of the manager Phillip Cocu with rumours already doing the rounds that he will be replaced by Wayne Rooney should the home side look this match. You could see that happening too in these crazy times.
Whenever a team comes out of the Premier League you always think it is important for them to make a good start to put that disappointment behind them and while it hasn’t been as strong a start to the campaign as the Hornets would have liked, seven points from 12 is a platform they can work from. The one thing you would immediately point out is that their matches haven’t exactly been entertaining or full of goals.
In fact in the four matches they have played there have been just three goals in total and Watford are yet to score on the road this season. A new manager often looks to make sure the back door is shut before working on the rest of the side but Vladimir Ilic will soon realise that the Championship tends to be a high scoring league and in order to be competitive in it you have to trouble sides going forward. As attacking players return that will be the task in hand.
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Derby boss Phillip Cocu may need to rotate his side with the likes of David Marshall and Kamil Jozwiak away on international duty until late this week. Jack Marriott has left for Sheffield Wednesday but Martyn Waghorn and Tom Lawrence could feature.
Watford have let Daryl Janmaat go since their last match while Tom Dele-Bashiru is a long-term injury victim and joins the likes of Will Hughes and Adam Masina on the sideline. Etienne Capoue could be in line to return though.
I’ve seen both these sides following my own club Luton Town this season and while as a Luton fan it never sits right with me to back Watford to be successful at anything I do think they are the better of these two teams and can get the job done here, although I doubt it will be pretty based on what we’ve seen of the Vicarage Road outfit so far this season. It is fair to say neither are in the form they would want to be but I think Derby have more issues right now.
Watford are probably a fair price to win the match but for those who like a little extra Friday night value it might well pay to back Watford to win and there to be under 3.5 goals in the match. There haven’t been 3.5 goals in Watford’s opening four games combined so it is hard to see how this one turns into a goal fest all of a sudden, particularly with Derby struggling to find the net too. Watford can stifle Derby and pick something up at the other end to secure a narrow win.
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