Our Sky Bet Championship journey continues at Vicarage Road tonight as we meet Watford live on Sky Sports. The Hornets are currently fourth following relegation last season while we head to Hertfordshire unbeaten in 11. It promises to be a cracker under the lights in WD18.
Last season's 19th-place finish in the Premier League saw Watford drop back into the second tier after five years in the top flight. The Hornets' final day defeat to Arsenal back in July confirmed their relegation under caretaker manager Haydn Mullins.
The expected firesale in WD18 following relegation never really materialised. Although the likes of Luis Garcia, Abdoulaye Doucouré, Danny Welbeck, Roberto Pereyra, and Pervis Estupiñán departed, new Hornets boss Vladimir Ivić can still call on Troy Deeney, Will Hughes, Ismaila Sarr, Christian Kabasele, and Étienne Capoue in the second tier.
Their ranks were also bolstered with the addition of Nigerian international defender William Troost-Ekong, striker Glenn Murray, and midfielder James Garner from Manchester United.
Their 18 Sky Bet Championship games so far have brought nine wins, six draws, and just three defeats. Until Cardiff City's 1-0 victory at Vicarage Road ten days ago, Watford were unbeaten on home soil, taking 19 points from a possible 21.
Ivić' men have been misely in defence this campaign, conceding just 12 goals in 18 games. At the other end of the pitch, their attacking play has shone in patches. They have scored three or more on four occasions but have also failed to score in six of their 18 league games.
Teenage sensation Joao Pedro (pictured above) is their top scorer with five goals in 13 starts while Deeney and Sarr have chipped in with three a-piece.
There's no change to our injury list with Christian Norgaard not quite ready for inclusion following his ankle injury. Mads Roerslev (foot) and Shandon Baptiste (knee) are also out.
Watford's situation is more complex to the extent they named two substitute goalkeepers for Saturday's win over Birmingham City. Andre Gray and Étienne Capoue returned to the bench for that game but Craig Cathcart, Glenn Murray, Isaac Success, Ismaila Sarr, Christian Kabasele, Tom Dele-Bashiru, and Will Hughes all weren't in the matchday squad.
Vladimir Ivić became Watford's seventh manager since they were last in the second tier when he was appointed in the summer.
A striker during his playing days, Ivić netted 126 goals in 498 professional appearances. He won three First League of FR Yugoslavia titles and a Yugoslavian Cup while with Partizan Belgrade around the turn of the century and also earned eight caps for Serbia and Montenegro.
His management career began with PAOK Under-20s, who he led to the league title in his first season. After stepping up to the main job in Thessaloniki, he picked up a Greek Cup in 2017, as well as being named the Super League Manager of the Year. Ivić moved to Maccabi Tel Aviv in the summer of 2018. His two seasons in Israel brought back-to-back Premier Leagues and a Toto Cup. He left Maccabi with a win percentage of 69 per cent, having lost just six games in two seasons in charge.
HOW TO FOLLOW
Tonight's game is live on Sky Sports as well as iFollow for Season Ticket and Premium Seat Members.
Audio Match Passes to listen live are available to buy for £2.50