The View From The Opposition: Watford

MILLWALL go into this game hoping for their first win since beating Premier League side Bournemouth in the third round. The Lions have been on an unbeaten run since the 3-1 win over Charlton in December.

Jake Cooper and Jed Wallace signed last week, and the latter could make his first start since re-joining the south London club.

Watford’s form has been inconsistent and they are currently in 14th place in the Premier League table. Manager Walter Mazzarri will be hoping that the Hornets can pick up their first win since a victory over Burton in the last round of the competition. His side have not won in the league since the 15th December.

Lucas Ball spoke to Watford fan Ross White ahead of the clash at The Den on Sunday.

Twitter: @dnsye_wfc

What made you support Watford?: Growing up in my family I didn't really have much choice – my dad has been a season ticket holder since the early seventies, and started taking me and my brother with him as soon as we were old enough.

To be fair, I was also pretty lucky that my first full season coincided with the late great Graham Taylor's second-coming in the late nineties – so my first years watching the club involved a third-tier title, followed by a play-off win at Wembley, followed by a Premier League season with wins at Anfield and against Chelsea. I think it's fair to say I was pretty hooked from then on.

Watford are in quite poor form, what do you think has been the main reason for that?: The official line: injuries. There hasn't been a moment this season where we haven't had a first-team player on the sideline – a situation made all the worse by the fact that it's often been our most creative/attacking players who have suffered.

Roberto Pereyra, Isaac Success and Stefano Okaka have all looked like real threats when fit – it's just a shame they've mustered about 15 league appearances between them. The defence has suffered too, meaning we've had to switch between three and four at the back on a regular basis. We've looked disjointed, unsettled, and are rightly being punished.

That said, the injury excuse isn't washing with a lot of fans. It seems no coincidence that discipline has also deteriorated under Mazzarri too, so there's a feeling he's pushing the players too hard on all fronts. Plus, no one's quite convinced he's getting the best from what he's got.

Granted he can't be blamed for Odion Ighalo's apparent brain transplant at the turn of last year, but Troy Deeney continues to look out of luck and thin on patience, while some players frozen out of the team at the start of the season, such as Abdolaye Doucoure, are now getting a run and looking like they could have given so much more had they had the chance.

Do you think that Walter Mazzarri was the right appointment?: Despite the frustrations above, I think it's still too early to make a call either way. As much as Watford fans might be moaning, when we've had the majority of a team together we've looked like a real side: wins this season against West Ham, Everton and Man United attest to that.

One thing all Watford fans can agree on is that replacing Quique Sanchez Flores was the right move. There was lots of chatter in the press about us replacing a manager after we'd finished 13th and reached the FA cup semi-final. On paper it's controversial, but those who watched the team regularly knew that there was only one way we were headed this season if the Spaniard was still in charge – and it wasn't up.

Who will Millwall have to watch out for? And likewise, who do you think could pose a threat to Watford's chances?: Unfortunately, as a fan of any club nowadays it's difficult to know exactly how strong a side will be played in the Cup (although we will treat the tie with more respect than Bournemouth did, that's for sure).

Of the players that should feature, I think there's three that could stand out: Doucoure, a rangey midfielder, has been getting better every week, and could cause problems; Okaka is a lump of a striker with an eye for goal, who should be returning to full fitness on Saturday; and finally Jerome Sinclair, a young lad we signed from Liverpool in the summer who scored a belter in the last round against Burton and will be itching to do the same at The Den.

As for Millwall, against our creaky defence it'll be all about getting on the scoresheet early. For me, Steve Morison will be the man keeping the Watford centre-halves up at night – we can't seem to defend crosses whether they come from corners or open play, and while I know he's more than just an aerial threat, if the wingers get it in early and regularly he'll cause us no end of problems.

And finally, a score prediction?: 2-2 at The Den, Watford to win 2-1 in the replay.

Graphic: @ShedCreative

Staff

(@NewsAtDen)