English League Championship

  • Sky Bet Ch'ship
  • 23 Feb 2013
  • KO 15:00
  • Ground: Vicarage Road Stadium
Home team Score Away team

Watford

2-1

Derby County

Matej Vydra 35
Joel Ekstrand 68
Jamie Ward 73 (pen)

Watford v Derby preview

Friday 22nd February 2013 12:48

Daniel Pudil (r): Will be assessed after illness

Daniel Pudil (r): Will be assessed after illness

Watford will assess Daniel Pudil ahead of their home encounter against Derby.

The wing-back missed Tuesday's 2-0 victory at Ipswich due to illness, with the fit-again Joel Ekstrand starting in defence having recovered from his knee injury.

Otherwise, boss Gianfranco Zola has an unchanged squad to select from and could opt to recall 19-goal top scorer Matej Vydra and midfielder Cristian Battocchio having rested the pair to the bench at Portman Road.

Defenders Fitz Hall (hamstring), Tommie Hoban (ankle) and Neuton (back) all continue to miss out.

The third-placed Hornets, who are three points off the automatic promotion places, will be out for revenge against Derby having been hammered 5-1 in the reverse fixture at Pride Park at the start of September.

Jake Buxton could return to action and ease Derby's defensive problems.

With Mark O'Brien, James O'Connor and Shaun Barker all out with knee injuries, Kieron Freeman expected to be out for around a month after suffering a twisted ankle against Bolton in midweek and Gareth Roberts serving the final game of a three-match ban, the Rams are down to the bare bones at the back.

Buxton has sat out the last three matches after returning from an eight-week absence with knee ligament damage earlier than expected against Sheffield Wednesday on February 9, but the centre-back is set to resume training on Friday.

If Buxton is fit that would allow John Brayford to revert from centre-back to his usual right-back role. Should Buxton not make it, Brayford would continue alongside Richard Keogh at the heart of the defence and midfielder Ben Davies would replace Freeman at right-back - as he did after 29 minutes against Bolton on Tuesday night.

Elsewhere, teenage midfielder Will Hughes remains a doubt for Saturday. The 17-year-old missed his first game of the season in midweek after a groin strain forced him off during the goalless draw with Wolves last weekend.

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