Watford returned to the Sky Bet Championship this season for a good time not a long time, achieving promotion back to the top flight at the first attempt under Xisco Muñoz.

For much of the campaign it looked like the Play-Offs would be most likely for The Hornets, that was until a quite incredible run of form which began back in February.

Starting with a 6-0 demolition of Bristol City on 13 February, Watford went on to take 40 points from the next 48 available, culminating in last Saturday's promotion celebrations following their 1-0 victory at home to Millwall.

That win was their 18th on home soil this campaign, five more than anyone else in the second tier. Since our draw there back in mid-December, Queens Park Rangers have been the only side to take points off Xisco's men at Vicarage Road.

The defensive framework installed by Vladimir Ivić before Christmas is still evident. Watford have conceded just 28 goals this term and could break the Championship record for goals conceded in a season if they let in fewer than two between now and the end of the campaign.

Ismaila Sarr (13) and Joao Pedro (9) have been their main goalscoring threats with Philip Zinckernagel chipping in with one goal and five assists since joining in January.


Pontus Jansson is back after suspension but Henrik Dalsgaard (knee), Josh Dasilva (hip), Shandon Baptiste (knee), and Rico Henry (hamstring) remain absent.

Tomorrow's game will come too soon for Tom Dele-Bashiru (knee) and Troy Deeney (achilles) while Kiko Femenia (abductor) won't play again this season. Isaac Success has returned to training after missing the Millwall match with a knock picked up ahead of the game.


A gifted left-winger, Francisco Javier Muñoz Llompart, to give him his full title, made just shy of 450 competitive appearances during a 16-year playing career in Spain and Georgia.

He won La Liga, the UEFA Cup, and the UEFA Super Cup with Valencia in 2003/04 before a trophy-laden end to his career with Dinamo Tbilisi. He was the Erovnuli Liga top scorer in 2012/13 and 2013/14, Tbilisi doing the league and cup double in both years, and was voted the league's Player of the Year in 2014.

Xisco then returned to Spain to finish his career with third tier side Gimnàstic de Tarragona. After retiring in 2016, Xisco joined Vicente Moreno's coaching staff at Gimnàstic before returning to Dinamo, this time as a coach in January 2019. It was a short but successful year-long stay as Dinamo won another league title. However, just six month's later he was back as Head Coach, a role he gave up in December 2020 to join Watford.


⚖ Lee Mason will be the man in charge tomorrow

🆚 The Watford Observer's Ryan Gray on The Hornets



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