Preview | Bristol City
Gregor MacGregor, of the Bristol Post, gives us the inside track on Tuesday night's opponents in the Carabao Cup second round.
Can we expect the Robins to ring the changes tomorrow night?
“Assistant manager Dean Holden spoke to the press today and said there’ll be changes. They’ve got a fairly strong squad and plenty of competition for places, so they’ll still field a very competitive side and want to come down and give it a real go. The players will be up for it. They’ve got decent players on the bench itching to start.”
Who should Watford fans keep an eye out for?
“Callum O’Dowda is an up and coming winger and he’s been unlucky not to get more minutes as he was in really good form in pre-season. He played in the last round against Plymouth. Niclas Eliasson is an exciting talent from Sweden and he might start.”
City made a real statement in the last round against Plymouth…
“City were really impressive that night. They smashed Plymouth, scoring five before half-time They made five changes that night but still scored five goals from five different players.”
Is Lee Johnson definitely without anyone tomorrow night?
“Striker Milan Djuric is out as he’s had an op on his groin. Matty Taylor has also got a groin problem and he’s only just returning so this game will come too quick for him. There are a couple of niggles but the club didn’t want to go into those, so we’ll just have to see how they are.”
Aiden Flint has been the subject of a lot of speculation this summer. Will we see him at Vicarage Road tomorrow?
“Flint should be involved. It looked like he was going to be on the move but nothing happened there and that deal could well be over. He is good and brilliant in the air, probably the best player in Championship in the air. He’s scored 25 goals from centre-back in the last three seasons and is a real threat from set-pieces. When the team are defending deep he is brilliant, but some aspects of his game aren’t maybe good as his heading ability, like getting turned occasionally. He’s a quality player and a bit of a talisman.”
Form tends to go out of the window in the cup but are City in fine fettle?
“They are in decent form. They drew 0-0 at Millwall on Saturday but the Millwall defence played well. City have only lost once this season and that was at Birmingham, but they played well that day. They’ve also got a bit of spirit about them as they were absolutely outplayed by Brentford but they scored with the last kick of game to salvage a draw at Griffin Park. Performance wise they have been a bit patchy and haven’t been as good as they were at the back-end of last season, but it’s been a decent start.”
What’s the expectation this season?
“The club have said officially that it’s just to progress. They finished 17th last season so they’d hope to better that. They’ve spent a bit of money and probably should be looking at the top half. I think the fans might have to be patient.”
Cauley Woodrow, the son of former Watford favourite Martin Patching, is now in City’s ranks. Is that a good signing?
“Woodrow has been a decent pick up on loan from Fulham. He got 15 minutes against Millwall on Saturday and looked a bit of a threat. He did alright at Burton last season so it’s good to have a recent former England Under-21 international in the side. It’s a shame he won’t play a part as he’s cup tied.”
Your manager started his career at Watford. How’s he viewed by the Ashton Gate faithful these days?
“It’s a vital period for him at the moment. He’s started well but if results go downhill he could come under a bit of pressure again. I think he will be given time to see how this new squad goes. He’s started the season well and if he can keep them ticking over at home and pick up the odd point away from home then he should be alright.”
There is another Watford link in the shape of Mark Ashton, who is now your CEO, isn't he?
“Most City fans think he’s doing a good job. City have been shrewd in the market this summer. They’ve spent a club record fee on Senegal striker Famara Diedhiou, brought in Nathan Baker, who has been outstanding in the last two games, and Eliasson, who looks really exciting. They’ve signed several good young players since Ashton has been there, including O’Dowda. So the consensus is Ashton is doing a good job and he’s done some good deals, especially this summer when the incoming business has been done early.”
And, finally, what’s your view on how the Hornets have started the season?
“It’s been a good start. I thought they might struggle this year after changing their Head Coach once again but they look like they are proving everybody wrong. I’m looking forward to seeing a bit more of Richarlison. He looked good against Bournemouth and looks a real exciting signing. You look like you’ve got a really decent squad and I rate Marco Silva after what he did at Hull last season. It looks like good times ahead for the Hornets.”
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By Grace Flatman
Bristol City come into Tuesday evening’s fixture off the back of a thumping 5-0 win against Plymouth Argyle in their Carabao Cup first round match.
Jens Hegeler, Nathan Baker, Korey Smith, Freddie Hinds and Jamie Paterson were the Robins’ scorers on the night, and they’ll be looking to put in a similarly impressive performance in the second round tie at Vicarage Road.
Watford lost in the first round of the competition last season, falling 2-1 to Gillingham after extra-time. Odion Ighalo put the Hornets ahead, but strikes from Mark Byrne and Bradley Dack sent the Gills through.
City manager Lee Johnson is likely to field club record signing Famara Diédhiou, a Senegalese striker who cost £5.3m in June. The 24-year-old agreed a four-year deal at Ashton Gate and came from French top-flight club Angers.
Diédhiou is likely to partner Freddie Hinds in attack, with fellow striker Cauley Woodrow – who is on loan from Fulham – cup-tied.
Watford and Bristol City have met 93 times in total, with the Hornets accumulating 28 wins, 29 draws and 36 losses. The most recent meeting between the two sides was in January 2014, when Watford won 2-0 in an FA Cup third round replay at The Vic having drawn 1-1 at Ashton Gate 10 days earlier.
However the last meeting in the League Cup dates all the way back to 2003, when the Robins won 1-0 at home thanks to Lee Miller’s extra-time goal.