Championship previews: Watford
Vital Football editors from around the Championship have been telling us what they expect for the new season.
1. Your name and Club Supported
Dr Watford, Watford
2. Your League Position last season
3. Your Prediction For this Season's Position Finish
16th [if Smithy & Priskin leave], 8th [if the exit door is slammed shut]
4. Transfers In
Danny Graham [Carlisle] - Clubcard points; Scott Severin [Aberdeen] - half a kitkat ; Jure Travner - mixed lot of used buttons
5. Transfer Out
Phew! The revolving door marked 'exit' at the Vic has been working overtime this summer with no less than 11 departing to help out the club coffers.
Lee Williamson does the now annual migration to the delights of Bramall Lane, hot prospect Theo Robinson has been sold on the cheap to Huddersfield whilst Poom, Williams and Bang Bang Bangura have all been high profile releases.
Though, there's still a whole bunch of speculation surrounding the backbone of the team - Loach, Williamson, Demerit, Smith, McAnuff & Priskin are all still aboard the Good Ship Mackay ... but for how long & at what cost?
6. Have you made enough signings for the new season? Are they the right signings?
Watford gaffer Malky Mackay reckons he's 'happy' with what he's got but personally I'm not convinced...
Danny 'Golden' Graham has hit a bit of a hot streak up front with 4 in 4 during preseason after his switch from Carlisle so looks a bit handy whilst Severin will do the 'Mahon' job (aka the 'Eustace job') in the middle of the park but he's no Jack Cork!
We could do with a new centre back in case Captain America [Demerit] gets a knock or Williamson gets lured by the the magic beans on offer elsewhere. Slovenian defender, Jure the Terrible, has come in amid a warcry that he's hard to beat & with an aggressive reputation so nippy wingers beware but, no doubt, he'll take time to settle.
And up front, well it's going to be interesting - Duke Ellington is back (and still bearded) to many fans distaste but could be the answer (if he can be bothered) but if either Hungarian Hitman Priskin or Tommy 'Smudger' Smith move on (good god, not to Reading) then a new frontman would be absolutely essential.
7. What are the expectations amongst the fans for this year?
Another year of transition is on the cards with most fans again happy just to avoid the drop into the footballing wilderness of League One.
Most fans are fuming with the departure of Brendan Who? and will throw their full support behind the meanest looking management team in the Championship - expect bags of passionate hearts on the sleeve stuff & all the blood and thunder you'd expect from a bench with Braveheart Malky and rock steady Sean Dyche....
There's also plenty of optimism that we might, just might unearth the next Ashley Young with a whole host of talented kids likely to play a big part.
Oh, and it would be nice for the passing game to be continued (but not just sideways and backwards - we're not bl**dy Chelsea you know!).
8. Key player(s)
Difficult call really as neither Smith or Priskin (the frontrunners) may have a future in WD18 come August 8th so here at VitalWatford Towers, we'll opt for Mike Williamson at centre back.
The towering defender was captured quite late on for a handful of chocolate buttons from Wycombe last season and secured up the leakiest defense in the division. He can also cause panic at the other end from set-pieces....
Elsewhere, Ross Jenkins will continue to dish out the teenage kicks in midfield to enhance his bright prospects, Scott Loach should have another influential season between the sticks (if he can get over the odd bout of the 'Scott Carson's he suffered with the England U21s).
Watch out for thistle sharp scot winger Don Cowie - Feed the Cow and he will score!
9. Your thoughts ahead of the new Championship campaign, are you confident or worried going into the new season? How do you think your year will pan out?
If, as Sir Ronan of Keating once declared, life is a rollercoaster then Watford are about to embark on the Big Dipper with a bit of the Black Hole thrown in for ride! Expect a steady if unspectacular start on a wave of 'new boss enthusiasm', a significant drop around Christmas and then a final rip roaring push clear of the drop zone as the season draws to a close.
Either that or we'll be safe and stuck in mid table obscurity by November!!!
10. Predict the Top 2 and Play-off winner and the 3 clubs to go down
Its the most compelling Championship for many a season and try as I might I can't look past Watford Reserves (aka Sheff Utd), Newcastle and West Brom to scrap it out for the title.
Mind you Forest have done a very 'unForest' thing and bought well this summer so except the Tricky Trees and Ipswich to put in 1 final effort at Wembley in the PlayOff final.
...in truth, anything by that right Royal shower in Berkshire!
To go down - Scunnie, Donnie and er, Barnslie - sorry guys!
Posh to pick up the 'Surprise Package of the Year' award sponsored by Burnley.