Date:Thursday September 11 2008
Vital Watford editor-in-chief 'Dr Watford' answers our questions ahead of the Owls' Championship clash with Watford this weekend...
What has your start to the season been like?
4 wins from 4 at home, some free flowing footie, a hard-earned point at the Palace. But for a knockout punch by Tyson at Forest, well, you`d take that as a sound, solid start from a bunch of 'hoofballers`.
What were fan`s expectations over the summer?
Suck it and see really. By the time Watford went to 'Hull and back` in the 6-1 Play-Off semi defeat, many of the Hornets faithful had become disillusioned so a season of rebuilding was on the cards (not least after the cash strapped board informed the East Stand builders to down tools).
Where do you think Watford will finish?
A top-half finish has got to be the aim after the solid start but there`s a waifer thin squad at Vicarage Road these days and as a well known TV pundit once said "you win nothing with kids".
What do you make of Watford boss Aidy Boothroyd?
From 'hoof to youth` for Boothroyd - the Hornets gaffer clearly lost the fans at the back end of last season but he seems to have got the dressing room smelling like team spirit again. He`s also stuck by his pre-season promises to deliver a passing game and give youth ago…but the fans expect Aidy to have a tough 4th season.
I`ve heard of a few problems of late behind the scenes at Watford, what`s going on?
Watford might say that "rumours have proved to be just that" but talk of administration, big name sales, board room battles with the local rag and more PR spin (than even Monty Panesar can offer) is always gonna cause unrest amongst fans.
Who have been the major movers and shakers over the summer?
'Will the last one out, please turn off the lights` - Shittu trotted off to Bolton, Jackson retired, Ellington and Stewart both joined Jewells revolution (?!?) at Derby whilst Henderson was sold off to the Pig Sty at Bramall Lane (though at an overpriced £2m we`d have been mad not to accept the offer).
Only Jon Harley has rolled up from Burnley on a free whilst Grezgorz Rasiak has signed on loan from Saints (only to discover he`s broken his shoulder!)
Who are the key players for Wednesday to keep an eye on?
Tommy 'Smudger` Smith has been in a fine fettle of form in the floating role so far this season and could cause problems for the backline. And it`s well worth keeping an eye on shaggy haired 'fox in the box" John-Joe O`Toole who has gone from bench warming youngster to midfield match winner in the space of a week.
Oh, and I won`t need to tell you all about Leigh Bromby`s ability to throw the ball half way up the M1 from the touchline!
If you could take 1 Wednesday player to Watford - who would it be and why?
The obvious choice would be Akpo Sodje as he is the most likely to net a few goals with his pace and height however, for me, it`s winger Etienne Esajas.
Ok, he might be a 'bit part` Owl but the flying Dutchman put some serious pace into a rather flat Yorkshire pudding of a Wednesday display at the Vic last season. The VitalWatford boys have also heard lots of good things about young defender Richard Wood (though mostly out of the mouth of Cov boss Chris Coleman we must admit!).
And if you could send one the other way to Hillsborough?
Well, with a squad as threadbare as ours it`s difficult to want anyone else to move on.
However, I`m gonna be a tad controversial and say 'Jobi McAnuff`. A few Hornets fans would have him down as a potential match winner on his day (as he clearly showed when he nicked all 3 points last time out at Hillsborough) but I for one, question his work-rate, is powder puff in the tackle and doesn`t appear to have a goals in him. At £1.75m, we`ve had better wingers at Watford.
What`s your most memorable Wednesday-Watford game?
Jan 1998- FA Cup 3rd Round replay (away). An early bath for Di Canio after 26 minutes of educating the ref in the delights of Italian hand gesturing, no goals and then Kevin Pressman lolloping up to net the winning penalty in the shoot-out.
Packed with tension - and all after a dire 1-1 draw at the Vic that had few highlights (except those in Nicolas Alexandersson`s hair).
How do you think Wednesday will get on this season?
To see Wednesday 3-0 up in what seemed less than 2 ½ minutes on the opening day of the campaign was, quite frankly, a massive shock. I think Laws has got a good blend of youth and experience (but could do with the odd dogged Great Dane or 2 to add a bit of Scandinavian steel!).
At home you should be fine and a match for anyone but I wouldn`t expect too many away day smiles (Molineux anyone?).
And a score prediction for Saturday?
Well, the Hornets have got quite a good record at Hillsborough and this time there`s no Kuqi or Ekoku to rock up and pop in an equaliser as always seemed to be the case in the past. So, I`m gonna opt for a 2-1 Watford win - well revenge would be sweet for that 4-0 hammering in the League Cup all those years back!
Damn you Matthew Hamshaw...
Cheers Dr Watford!
NEXT UP: IPSWICH TOWN
Date:Thursday September 11 2008
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