As Blackpool travel to Watford on Saturday we take the views of Watford Vital, here’s what their editor Tom had to say.
How has your season matched your expectations?
This season has been a disappointment. There can be no getting away from the fact that we had expected, promised even, that we would be challenging for promotion from the Championship this season.
That has not – and at this fairly late stage – will not materialise now.
When Gianfranco Zola resigned and was replaced by Beppe Sannino, the hope was that the appointment of a new head coach would give the players the boost needed to push on and secure a top-six spot. It became abundantly clear soon after Sannino`s appointment just how poor a side we had become and just how far away we are from the play-offs in terms of quality, if not points.
For the remainder of the season, the expectation is very much that we should be looking to build the best possible platform from which to begin next season.
The impact of Sannino has been felt at the back where we have tightened up – despite auspicious lapses at Nottingham Forest and Bolton – but going forward we are completely reliant on the superb Fernando Forestieri. That has to be the aim for the rest of the season: to find a way of attacking effectively without the diminutive Argentine forward.
Who is your player to watch?
I`ve pointed to Forestieri already, but it`s worth waxing lyrical about him some more, assuming he`s fit.
For my money, he`s a shoo-in for Player of the Season already. He has been excellent this season, and although he will probably scrape double figures in terms of goals, his value to the side is so much more than goals.
He is the most technically gifted player in the side and one of the most technically gifted players I`ve personally had the privilege of enjoying in a Watford shirt. He is one of the few players with a bit of pace about him – even if he`s no 100m sprinter – and he has the ability to pull the unexpected out time and time again. On top of his offensive qualities, he demonstrated his versatility and hugely-improved work rate in the 1-0 win over Middlesbrough two weeks ago, dropping into midfield and recovering the ball several times.
If he isn`t fit, then I`d say Marco Cassetti, who has looked like a new man playing as the central of our three centre-halves; he reads the game like a book.
Any injuries or suspensions?
Samba Diakite and Joel Ekstrand are both suspended, though that`s more of an advantage to us than you, because Diakite was diabolical on his debut and Ekstrand, though a good player, has been in and out of form this season.
Lewis McGugan has been out for a month and Forestieri for a week or so, but they could both return for your visit – an update is due on Friday.
Reigning Player of the Year Almen Abdi is still out with Plantar Fasciitis.
What local information can you give for Blackpool fans?
As far as parking goes, you`ve got a number of options – Chater Primary School and Watford Girls Grammar are the nearest to the ground (approx. 5 minutes walk), though there are several multi-storey car parks in the town centre (only another 10/15 minutes away).
Watford Junction is probably a half an hour walk away for those coming on the train, you just need to head to the town centre and you`ll start picking up the football crowd and sign posts.
As far as pubs are concerned, Oddfellows is virtually on Vicarage Road and is designated as an away fans` pub. In town there`s the usual selection of chains – Wetherspoons (The Moon Under Water), O`Neills, Lloyds, Walkabout etc and they`re all accommodating of away fans as far as I`m aware.
What is your prediction?
3-1 to Watford. Blackpool are on a horrific run and we`ve been passable at home of late. Back to winning ways and hopefully putting our poor run against you to bed at the same time!