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Hornet's return to the Championship

We all remember those famous words - ‘here’s Hogg... Deeney!’

24 August 2020

From staring down the barrel of Semi-Final Play-Off heartbreak as Anthony Knockaert lined up to take a penalty for Leicester City, to euphoria at Vicarage Road as captain Deeney netted to take them through to the 2013 Play-Off Final.

A poignant moment in the history of the Sky Bet Championship, and a moment that football fans all over - not least Watford fans - will never forget.

Promotion wasn’t on the cards for the Hornets that season, but it wouldn’t be long until they reached the Premier League, Slaviša Jokanović guiding them to the top tier of English football at the end of the 2014/15 season.

Nigel Pearson almost pulled off the great escape last season, but it wasn’t to be, as their five-year stay in the Premier League came to an end.

Now back in the Championship under relatively unknown manager Vladimir Ivić, Watford are looking to set foundations for an immediate return to the top flight.

Manager: Vladimir Ivić

The former Serbia and Montenegro international Vladimir Ivić is the latest man in the hot seat at Vicarage Road, taking over on a one-year contract.

The 43-year-old played for the likes of AEK Athens, Borussia Monchengladbach and Partizan Belgrade, and clearly has a wealth of European knowledge.

After finishing his career at Greek side PAOK, he moved from the playing side to the coaching side, starting his managerial career with the club’s under-20 side, leading them to league glory in his maiden season.

From the youth team to the big time, Ivić made the step up to the first team for a single season, winning the Greek Cup against one of his former sides - AEK Athens - in 2017.

Short after, he took over Maccabi Tel and impressed during his first season in charge, guiding the Israeli side to the league championship as well as the Toto Cup.

Maccabi only lost once that season and won the title by an impressive 31-point margin to rivals Maccabi Haifa. His side went onto regain the title again the next campaign.

The Sky Bet Championship and Watford now bring a new challenge for Ivić, one that the he will certainly be looking forward to.

Players to watch

The Hornets have a huge amount of talent within their ranks; internationals in their own right and former Premier League winners - Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck have achieved both over the course of their career.

Andre Gray, Ben Foster, Gerard Deuolfeu, Isaac Success and Ismaila Sarr are also players to watch out for during the 2020/21 Championship campaign.

With those players, there are no surprises that Watford are second favourites - priced at 6/1 with our partners Sky Bet - to win the Championship outright and earn promotion back to the Premier League at the first time of asking. They kick off their campaign against Neil Warnock’s Middlesbrough, as the season gets underway on Saturday 12 September.

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