Bilić: ‘We Need To Build On This Momentum’

By: Watford FC Staff

Head Coach Slaven Bilić is confident Watford can continue their charge towards the World Cup break by building on their winning momentum at Cardiff City on Wednesday, with four matches remaining in the calendar before play is put on ice for a month.

The Hornets are riding a wave of positivity after recording back-to-back victories for the first time this season - against local rivals Luton Town and at Wigan Athletic last time out - despite injuries having plagued the squad since Bilić’s appointment at the end of September.

Further knocks sustained against Wigan at the DW Stadium - as well as the suspension of Hamza Choudhury for collecting a fifth booking of the season - have impacted preparations for tomorrow evening’s trip to the Welsh capital (Wednesday November 2, 7.45pm KO), but the Golden Boys’ boss is positive that the attitude and versatility within his squad can deliver another strong performance.

Bilić has challenged his team to continue their rise up the Sky Bet Championship standings to leave themselves within the promotion mix by the time of the sustained break, during which he is looking forward to something of a reset before the business end of the campaign.

“We have a couple of issues from the weekend - Samuel Kalu picked up an ankle problem and Vakoun Bayo had a dead leg - but we are positive about them for tomorrow and they are going to travel with us,” he said.

“No-one who missed the trip to Wigan is back for this game, which is unfortunate, but we’ve said all along that this injury situation is something we have to cope with until the World Cup, and we don’t want to be negative while we’re performing positively.

“The World Cup has condensed the fixtures - and it is tough to communicate things on the training pitch, and to practice when you need to recover between games in quick succession - but the players have a short-term goal. They have to cope with the next four games and then they know we can go again, and I’m confident we have enough to be able to keep getting results.

“To me the World Cup break will be like a pre-season, and a good chance for me to spend time with the players communicating and recovering. Before we can think about that though we need to keep picking up points, and that begins tomorrow at Cardiff.”

The Bluebirds sit 17th in the Championship standings ahead of the midweek fixtures, after ending a run of three defeats with a much-needed 1-0 victory over Rotherham United on Saturday (October 29).

Watford boss Bilić believes the position in the table belies the quality within the Cardiff ranks, and he is expecting a tough contest against a side looking to recapture the sort of form that marked the start of interim-manager Mark Hudson’s spell in charge.

“I’ve watched them, and I like Cardiff’s team,” said Bilić. “They have energy, quality, and they play on the front foot. They have lost a few games in recent weeks, but there have been factors like red cards that have affected things, so we know we are in for a hard evening.

“It’s important we go there and play our own game. The big thing for our psychology is keeping up this confidence and momentum, and getting to mid-November with as many points as possible. We’ll train today (Tuesday November 1) before we travel across to Cardiff, and we’ll be ready to go again.”

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