View From The Town End - Watford

Charlie Crowhurst

We spoke to Jon from The Rookery End on this week's podcast - this time it's the turn of Jason Bailey, who's given us his thoughts ahead of Reading's crunch match against Watford tomorrow.

What have you made of Watford's start to the campaign?

It's early days but you can't argue with the results. 3 games, 100%. Expectations are high and the start has done nothing to dampen them.

Was the 6-1 win over Bournemouth a fair reflection of the 90 minutes?

Not at all. It's fair to say that Bournemouth were the better side over the first 45 minutes. They played good counter attacking football and opened us up on a number of occasions, particularly exploiting the space behind our wingbacks. We struggled to hold onto the ball and didn't use our midfield to good effect. The second half was a different story. Once we were back in front, we cut through them with regularity as they pushed forward to try and get back in the game.

A lot has changed off the field at Watford since Reading were last in the Championship, how much has the takeover by the Pozzo family impacted the side?

The Pozzos have had a fantastic impact on the side and club in general. Under Laurence Bassini we were following in the footsteps of Pompey & Coventry. The use of the loanees last season and free transfers this season from our sister clubs Udinese and Granada have been well documented and challenged as unfair by other fans and some of the press.

However, the Pozzo model of scouring the globe for raw young talent and turning them into quality footballers and valuable assets is surely a sensible way to run a football club (or three!). Naturally the quality of football we now see at Vicarage Road is a vast improvement on what we had the last time we met. You couldn't fault the work rate and determination of that mix of youth and experience that was the Watford of old. However, the Pozzos know how they like their football to be played and the talent now at our disposal is a joy to watch.

What are your best memories of Reading v Watford?

I have a couple. The end of the 2009\10 season saw Watford finish their home campaign against a Reading side that had started the season with Brendan Rodgers in charge. Mr. Rodgers didn't endear himself to Hornets fans in the manner he left Vicarage Road to take up the hot-seat at Reading. However, by now he was long gone. But it didn't mean there was still a bit of extra spice to the fixture, particularly as the Golden Boys still needed a result to ensure Championship survival. Thankfully for us, Watford dominated from start to finish and the 3-0 victory left a feel good factor hanging over the Vic for the summer.

I also remember my first look at Reading in the short lived League Group Cup back in 1981. Watford were destined to be promoted to the top flight for the first time in their history that season but it all kicked off with a spectacular 4-1 victory against the Royals who were then in Division 3. As a young 7 year old, I didn't care who the opposition were. I just loved seeing the Hornets score loads of goals!!

And the worst?

Well there's the ghost goal of course. But that's more of an unusual occurrence than a bad memory! Then there was the trip to the Madejski in the 2002-03 season when we played okay, scored a goal, which was then disallowed as a penalty had already been given. You guessed it, the penalty was saved! Of course, we went on to lose 1-0. And then there was the last meeting between the two sides. A poor Watford performance in a 2-1 home defeat. The only highlight being a Watford goal. Yours truly happened to be in a Vicarage Road loo at that point in the game!

Who should we be particularly wary of come Saturday?

Fernando Forestieri is a great talent. Quick feet with a low centre of gravity. He can do things with a football that we haven't seen from a Watford player for a long time. Of this season's new boys, Gabrielle Angella looks to be a class act at centre back. He's already shown us he can be a threat from attacking set pieces, as well as a calming influence at the back.

Anyone that Watford fans worry about?

Adam Le Fondre showed his scoring prowess in the Premier League last season and I imagine we'll see a lot more from him this season. And can you guys tell me what's gone wrong with Pogrebnyak? He burst onto the scene with a flurry of goals and great performances a couple of seasons ago, but nothing seems to have gone right for him since. Still, dropping a level may be a chance for him to get a bit of confidence back and I wouldn't be surprised if things pick up for him this season.

Generally, the way Reading have kept a large number of their Championship winning squad from 2 seasons ago and added quality to the side like Royston Drenthe and Wayne Bridge means they have to be contenders in the promotion race this season.

Finally, what's your score prediction?

Goals, goals, goals!! This is our toughest test so far and I fear that Reading's familiarity within the squad will edge ahead of our side who will still be finding their collective feet. A 3-2 home win.

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