Sports Mole preview Tuesday’s Championship game between Watford and Birmingham City, including predictions, team news and possible line-ups.
Watford will be looking to book their first win in four games when they host Birmingham city at Vicarage Road on Tuesday night in the Championship in a crucial game of the hosts’ season.
Play-off spots slipped further away from the Hornets after a defeat at Queens Park Rangers on Saturday, while Birmingham gave their survival goals a massive boost by beating Rotherham United.
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The Chris Wilder The Watford era did not get off to an ideal start on Saturday afternoon when the Hornets were beaten by at Loftus Road Gareth Ainsworth‘s QPR side due to a first half Tim Iroegbunam Goal.
Watford’s hierarchy have, as always, acted impulsively in the managerial market this season to unleash a talented group of players, with the club now the third boss of the campaign after the sackings Rob Edwards And Slaven Bilic.
Ex-Sheffield United husband Wilder has risen in the Championship and it’s likely just a repeat of his performance with the Blades in 2018/19 will keep the 55-year-old in the Hertfordshire hotseat once that campaign is completed .
The Hornets are currently 11th in the second division standings and with six points between them and sixth-placed Millwall, Wilder still has work to do to ensure his side make the playoffs in May.
Despite the undisputed attacking prowess in their ranks, Watford have struggled to find the net lately having failed to score in their last three games – fans will be looking to players like these Joao Pedro And Nonean Davis to change the team’s offensive assets on Tuesday.
Birmingham have done much to assuage relegation fears this season with goals from on Saturday at St Andrew’s Reda Khadra And Kevin Lang Securing a 2-0 win over Rotherham.
John Eustace opted for a back four to take on the Millers and the ex-Watford captain was rewarded for his bravery with the wide pairing Tahit Chong and the prolific Khadra, who gives the Blues a consistent attacking threat that isn’t always present when the team adopts a full-back system.
With three opposing points, Saturday was a perfect day for the Second City Club Matthew Taylor‘s men are accompanied by defeats for Blackpool, Huddersfield Town and Wigan Athletic meaning Birmingham are now 10 points clear of the relegation zone with 10 games to play.
Although mathematical certainty won’t be assured until April at the earliest, Eustace will know deep down that his side need just a few more points to retain their Second Division status for another year, and that represents an accomplishment in a sense represents, considering that Blues was relegation favorites in August
With parts of the training ground at St Andrew’s and Wast Hills uninhabitable and the club’s questionable ownership status under intense scrutiny by the EFL, the only form of stability for Bluenoses over the last decade has been their side playing 46 league games each season – not a matter of course.
Form of Watford Championship:
Form of the Birmingham City Championship:
Watford has a long list of players in his sickroom ahead of the Birmingham visit Hasan Kamara And João Ferreira both sidelined with hamstring injuries.
Francisco Sierralta will miss the rest of the season with a broken ankle and right-back Dan Gosling is not expected to return until after the international break due to an Achilles tendon injury.
Birmingham are hoping for a midfielder Kristian Bielik at Vicarage Road – the Poland international had to be substituted against Rotherham after receiving a nasty kick to the head in the first half.
Young JordanJames In addition to Bielik, the 20-year-old replaced the double pivot in the Blues Alfi Changand it could be another very youthful midfield for the visitors on Tuesday, especially with Juninho Bacuna is serving the last game of his two-game ban for collecting 10 yellow cards.
Eustace’s back four proved his worth against the Millers on Saturday but the Blues boss will be wary of Watford’s threat as a move to a back five is a possibility.
Troy Deeney is out with a hamstring injury and joins Wolverhampton Wanderers on loan Dion Sanderson on the touchline, with the centre-back not expected to return before the end of the season due to a back problem.
Watford possible starting line-up:
Bachmann; Porteous, Cathcart, Hoedt; Gaspar, Louza, Choudhury, Sema; Pedro, Sarr, Davis
Birmingham City possible starting line-up:
Reddish; Colin, Dean, Long, Trusty; Bielik, Chang, Khadra, Hannibal, Chong, Jutkiewicz
We say: Watford 2-1 Birmingham City
Watford are in dire need of three points to keep their promotion hopes alive and we’re awaiting a response from the Hornets following their defeat at QPR on Saturday.
Birmingham will be in a relaxed mood after the much-needed win over Rotherham and subsequent move away from the relegation zone, however we believe this could result in an underperformance at Vicarage Road.
For a data analysis of the most likely outcomes, goal scores and more for this game, please click here.
Our expert Tipster partners at Sporita.com predict over 1.5 goals in this game. Click here to find out what else they predict for this game and for more of their football best tips.About 1.5: data