Predicting the outcome of Watford’s first 5 Championship fixtures as the Hornets face tough start
Watford face a difficult return to life in the Sky Bet Championship under new manager, Rob Edwards.
Edwards guided Forest Green Rovers to promotion last season and Watford will be hoping that their new manager will be able to replicate that success at Vicarage Road.
However, with few incomings it looks like it is going to be a testing start for Watford, where they face three promotion rivals in the opening weeks of the season.
Here I take a look at what the opening five games might have in store for the Hornets, as we predict the outcome of each.
Sheffield United (H)
Sheffield United suffered playoff semi-final heartbreak last season, as they were defeated by Nottingham Forest on penalties.
However, the Blades enjoyed a resurgence of success in the second half of the season under Paul Heckingbottom, who took over from former Watford manager Slaviša Jokanović.
This is an incredibly difficult start for Watford, facing a Sheffield United side who will be looking to go one step further over the coming season.
A harsh welcome back to the Championship could await the Hornets under the lights at Vicarage Road.
Prediction: Watford 0-1 Sheffield United
West Brom (A)
Steve Bruce will be looking to steer West Brom back into the top flight this season.
The Baggies have made some shrewd signings to aid this, with Jed Wallace and John Swift securing moves to the Hawthorns.
It will be another difficult task for Rob Edwards and his side, however they should be able to secure a point.
Prediction: West Brom 1-1 Watford
This was a game that all but confirmed Watford’s relegation last season, with Josh Brownhill’s late goal sending the Clarets back to Turf Moor with all three points.
This turned out to be in vain, with the clarets eventually joining Watford in the relegation zone.
Despite losing some players, Burnley have recruited well under new manager Vincent Kompany and a similar result could be on the cards when they face each other in August.
Prediction: Watford 1-2 Burnley
There are many subplots to this game, with former Watford captain John Eustace now in charge at Birmingham, with their club captain being Watford legend Troy Deeney.
Watford may have too much for a side who are looking over their shoulders before the season has even started.
It will be a great opportunity for the Hornets to pick up their first three points of the season which they should do comfortably.
Prediction: Birmingham 0-2 Watford
Watford’s fifth game is a trip to Deepdale, where Preston will be looking to build on their comfortable mid-table finish last season.
Manager Ryan Lowe was a manager who was rumoured to be on Watford’s shortlist following their successful season, so it will be a great opportunity for Preston to make a clear statement of intent.
In their last meeting, Watford defeated North End in a 1-0 thanks to a Joao Pedro penalty; a player who will be key in Watford’s pursuit for Premier League football. Along with the creativity of Imran Louza, Watford may have too much going forward for Preston’s backline.
The Hornets will take confidence from a victory at St Andrew’s and secure a second consecutive win on the road.
Prediction: Preston 1-2 Watford