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Leicester City 11/12 Opponents Preview – Watford

I have almost finished my batch of Npower Championship previews, in this feature it’s Watford who I will be concentrating on this time around. It will be a whole new feel at Vicarage Road this season, as star players such as Danny Graham, Will Buckley and Don Cowie have headed for pastures new, while even manager Malky Mackay jumped ship to Cardiff City. Sean Dyche has been left in charge of the golden boys at this moment in time, can the new manager of Watford produce the stability which Malky Mackay did, or will be the club from Hertfordshire struggle in 2011/2012…

Watford Preview
Under the guidance of Malky Mackay Watford seemed to be turning over a new leaf, much like the success which they had when Aidy Boothroyd was in charge, Malky Mackay was beginning to bring the best of of a squad what on paper was fairly mediocre. The Hornets fared well amongst the top six for a period last season; however despite hitting those heights they eventually finished in 14th place. Yet again it showed just how consistent Watford were with Malky Mackay in charge, but that has now all changed as from this season the Hertfordshire sidle will be guided by a new manager. Mackay’s right hand man in Sean Dyche has now taken over the reigns at Vicarage Road, a very inexperienced coach Dyche will have plenty to contend with in 2011/2012. With last season’s top goalscorer Danny Graham departing to Swansea City, and midfielders Will Buckley and Don Cowie also heading for pastures new the Hornets have certainly been left with weaknesses in attack. Another consistent finish is highly unlikely, with departures set to affect Watford in a damaging way they could well be involved in a relegation scrap in 11/12.

Key Players
Last season’s key player in Danny Graham sadly departed Vicarage Road this summer, and with Will Buckley also moving to another club the phrase “match winners” are hard to identify this season. First of all though Graham’s strike partner for last season in Marvin Sordell made a startling impact as he netted some crucial goals in 10/11, Sordell is a player full of pace and his speed is an incredible weapon, the 20 year old ran plenty of teams ragged last season and now with Graham gone, Sordell will now have bigger fish to fry as he will be Watford’s key striker for the 11/12 campaign. Central midfielder and club captain John Eustace is a battling midfielder with plenty of experience, one of the Hornets key players last season, his influence from midfield was a crucial part to Watford’s successful campaign. Eustace is a keen passer of the ball who also loves to tackle; all eyes will be on Eustace as his determination to carry the side will be a decisive role in Watford’s season. Finally new signing Craig Forsyth could be one of the surprise signings of the Npower Championship, with Buckley and Cowie now at pastures new Forsyth could play a pivotal role for the Hornets.

Manager – Sean Dyche
Former Watford defender Sean Dyche is an unknown quantity when it comes to football management, a former Golden Boy himself Dyche has now taken over the reigns of his beloved Watford, in a bid to be a successful manager. Only 40 years of age the right hand man to Malky Mackay for the past two years, Dyche now takes his first steps into the unknown as he prepares to deal with one of his biggest challenges of his career. He has to face the loss of many players over the summer; however can a consistent Watford side push above their weight, or will Sean Dyche be a sinking failure at Vicarage Road, will he offer the Watford fans a season of impressive football, or will they be faced with a relegation battle?

Ins and Outs
Ins – Craig Forsyth(Dundee), David Mirfin(Scunthorpe), Mark Yeates(Sheffield Utd), Prince Buaben(Dundee United), Chris Iwelumo(Burnley), Carl Dickinson(Stoke)

Outs – Liam Henderson(York City), Will Buckley(Brighton), Danny Graham(Swansea), Nathan Ellington(Ipswich), Mat Sadler(Walsall), Don Cowie(Cardiff), Tom Aldred(Inverness), Rob Kieran(Released)

Overall Thoughts
Many transitional changes have happened at Vicarage Road this summer, but I can’t seem to find any postive movement involving the club. Losing Danny Graham, Will Buckley and Don Cowie is a potential nightmare; also losing a highly rated manager in Malky Mackay could have disastrous consequences. Watford have tried to replace the departures to the best of their ability; however unlike Graham new signing Chris Iwelumo will struggle to score 20 plus goals. It will be a demanding exercise for Watford this season, a relegation battle is imaginable but actual relegation isn’t, even though they are one of the favourties to struggle I can see them averting the deadly drop. Prediction – 20th

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