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Watford's Lloyd Doyley aiming for consistency

21 March 2014

By Tony Leighton

Watford have been enjoying home comforts but not their away days since Italian manager Giuseppe Sannino joined the club.

The Hornets have won six of their eight Sky Bet Championship games - the last five in succession - at Vicarage Road following Sannino's December arrival.

But their seven away league games under the former Siena, Palermo and Chievo boss have yielded no wins and just four points from the 21 available.

It's a conundrum that is perhaps difficult to explain - but football-league.co.uk nevertheless asked long-serving defender Lloyd Doyley to do just that.

"I don't think our away form is a psychological problem," said Doyley, "it's just that game by game we're not being consistent enough.

"We're often playing really well for 45 or 50 minutes, but then if we're in front we've been tending to protect leads too much and that's damaged us.

"We've conceded late goals that have cost us points, unlike at home where we've been winning games without conceding and looking really strong.

"We need to take our home form on the road and we've been working hard at making ourselves more solid and a more difficult away team to beat."

Sannino and his players' attempts to address the away-day problem will be tested to the full on Saturday, when they visit in-form Wigan Athletic.

The Latics have won 11 and lost only two of their last 17 Championship outings, while also reaching the FA Cup semi-finals.

They are unbeaten at home under Uwe Rosler, appointed in December, though in midweek they were held 3-3 by struggling Yeovil Town at the DW Stadium.

That run has lifted them into the Play-Off positions, while Watford are lying five places and nine points behind the top six.

Doyley said: "Wigan had won eight League and Cup games on the bounce before they drew with Yeovil, so they've been in fantastic form.

"We beat them at our place early on in the season but they looked a good side then, and they've obviously got better as the season's gone on.

"But we'll go there believing we can get a result. We've been working with the new manager to make ourselves more solid, and we're getting there.

"We've only conceded four goals in our last seven [home and away] games and we'll be looking to go on improving for the rest of the season."

Sannino is the 11th manager looking to make his mark at Vicarage Road since ex-trainee Doyley, now 31, turned professional in the summer of 2001.

A season of Premier League football was spent under Aidy Boothroyd after promotion in 2006/07, and the Hornets have twice since reached the Play-Offs.

With Gianfranco Zola in charge they lost out to Crystal Palace in last year's Play-Off Final - an end-of-season fixture they are unlikely to have this term.

With only 11 games remaining it will take a run similar to the one currently being enjoyed by Wigan in order to give them a chance.

But Doyley has not given up hope.

"We've still got a slight chance," he said. "Teams up there are slipping a bit and there's a couple of places up for grabs.

"We've had to adjust to a new manager and that's sometimes difficult to do, but the new boss is a good guy and he's brought in a good [backroom] team.

"We're improving and we won't stop trying to go for a Play-Off place until it becomes mathematically impossible for us.

"We've only had one season in the Premier League since I've been playing for the club, but it was the best season of my career - and I want to get back up there."

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