We take a closer look at Friday night’s kick-off live on Sky Sports between Fulham and Watford in the Sky Bet Championship.OVERVIEW
Fulham come into this game after a 2-1 win over Brighton & Hove Albion last weekend and, following a difficult start to the season, the Cottagers are now four points clear of the relegation places, having lost just two of their last 10 league outings. Kit Symons’ men were involved in Friday night Championship action just a fortnight ago, when they went down 2-1 to Brentford at Griffin Park.
Visitors Watford travel to Craven Cottage on a concerning run of four straight defeats, having previously topped the table at the start of November. That slump sees them six points behind pace-setters Derby County, who inflicted one of those four losses on Slavisa Jokanovic’s men, and two points adrift of the Play-Off places. They’ve also lost to Birmingham City, Ipswich Town and Cardiff City in recent weeks, and have registered just one win in their last seven.
Dan Burn returns for Fulham following suspension, and Sean Kavanagh is also back in contention following his recovery from a thigh injury.
Heurelho Gomes is likely to start in goal for Watford after a spell on the sidelines but his cover, Jonathan Bond, is a doubt after injuring his collarbone. Gabriel Tamas also remains sidelined after rupturing his cruciate ligament back in September, and is expected to miss most of the season.
In the goals: Hugo Rodallega is Fulham’s top goalscorer with eight to his name in the Sky Bet Championship this season, and he’s bagged three of those in his last three appearances. Matej Vydra is Watford’s most prolific man in front of goal with seven, but the Czech has failed to find the net in any of his last four outings for the Hornets.
This will be the first competitive meeting between Fulham and Watford since New Year’s Day in 2007, when both clubs boasted Premier League status.
That season saw two very different fixtures played out between the pair. The first was a thrilling 3-3 draw at Vicarage Road, which featured a brace for winger Ashley Young, while the return match, in January, was a goalless stalemate.
IN THE MEDIA
Fulham boss Kit Symons told fulhamfc.com: “We’ve got a great chance, we’re very, very confident but also we won’t show any sort of complacency and we won’t underestimate Watford.
“They got off to a fantastic start to the season, recent results have not been great for them but we’ve looked at all their games and they’ve played some good stuff within those games.
“They’re a real threat, they’ve got some excellent players, so we won’t be taking them lightly or underestimating them at all. But I fancy us to beat whoever we play in any game, be it home or away.
“I won’t use the away thing as an excuse for not winning games, I just expect this team, this squad of players, to win every game we play in. So we’re very positive going into this one.”
Watford’s Adlene Guedioura, who is on loan from Crystal Palace, believes it is a must-win for the struggling Hornets: “It’s a huge game for us,” he told to watfordfc.com.
“We haven’t won in these last few games. If we win, it will be a huge boost for us. We have prepared for the game really well this week.
“I love to bring my energy, my passion. I haven’t been here when we lost the last few games which have been difficult for the lads. I can bring my fresh positivity, and hopefully that will help.
“I came to Watford to make an impact. I’ve had a good week with my team-mates, the manager and everyone else. It’s a really nice club, everyone has been good to me and welcomed me well. I want to show the lads, the coach and the fans what I can do.”
FOLLOW THE ACTION
The Sky Sports cameras will be at Craven Cottage to capture all the action, and we'll be tweeting updates from our Sky Bet Championship divisional account - @SkyBetChamp. Join in the conversation using #Championship.