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Preview: Coventry City vs. Watford - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship clash between Coventry City and Watford, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Coventry City and Watford will both be aiming to bounce back from defeats earlier in the week when they meet at St Andrew's on Saturday.

The Sky Blues were beaten 2-1 by Nottingham Forest on Tuesday to get dragged back into the Championship relegation mix, while the Hornets lost by the same scoreline against Queens Park Rangers on Monday to slip to fifth.


Match preview

Coventry City manager Mark Robins pictured in November 2020© Reuters

Coventry took the lead against Forest through Maxime Biamou but conceded just five minutes later before a second-half own goal from Michael Rose gifted the Reds the points.

It was only a third home defeat of the season for Mark Robins's side and their first since October, and they now sit four points above the relegation zone in 18th position.

It is representative of what a difference one round of matches can make because if Coventry had beaten Forest, they would have moved up to 14th and sat in mid-table serenity.

However, a defeat to a side just underneath them in the table, as well as wins for Sheffield Wednesday and Rotherham United in midweek, now has the Sky Blues looking nervously over their shoulder again.

Robins's side have a tricky period ahead too as they face four of the top five in their next five matches, starting with Watford's trip to the Midlands.

Coventry have only won two of their last 13 meetings with the Hornets and lost 3-2 in the reverse fixture in November.

Watford's Troy Deeney celebrates scoring against Barnsley on January 19, 2021© Reuters

It was a crazy second half at Vicarage Road as Watford went from winning 1-0 to losing 2-1 and then drawing 2-2 in the space of four minutes, before Ismaila Sarr's late penalty secured the victory.

The Hertfordshire side have, typically, changed managers since then and current boss Xisco Munoz has indicated that he will switch up his tactics ahead of the weekend; this comes off the back of a pair of uninspiring results, with the defeat to QPR following a dull 0-0 draw with Millwall.

Defender William Troost-Ekong has said that the clash with Coventry could be "the moment that's going to change our season" as the Hornets must improve their away form if they want to compete for the automatic promotion spots; they are currently four points behind second place Brentford, who have a game in hand.

Watford have only won three out of 16 games on the road this season, while only Luton Town have scored fewer away goals. At the other end of the pitch, however, only Birmingham City have conceded fewer away goals.

Coventry City Championship form: LWLWDL
Coventry City form (all competitions): WLLWDL

Watford Championship form: LWWWDL
Watford form (all competitions): LWWWDL


Team News

Watford manager Xisco Munoz pictured on January 2, 2021© Reuters

Coventry centre-back Kyle McFadzean is available again after he tested positive for coronavirus and had to self-isolate for 10 days, but goalkeeper Ben Wilson remains absent following his positive test.

McFadzean's return will likely mean that Robins goes with a back three, particularly as midfielder Ben Sheaf is a doubt after coming off at half time against Nottingham Forest with a hamstring problem.

Meanwhile, Julien Da Costa could come in for his first Championship start at right wing-back after impressing as a substitute in midweek.

With Xisco expected to change tack at St Andrew's, Will Hughes could move into a central position, allowing Ken Sema to start on the left hand side.

Full-back pair Kiko Femenia and Adam Masina both missed the defeat to QPR with knocks but should be available again.

Strikers Stipe Perica and Isaac Success have been back in training in the last few days but are still a week or so away from featuring, while new signing Dan Gosling is unlikely to play as he works on his match fitness.

Coventry City possible starting lineup:
Marosi; Ostigard, Hyam, McFadzean; Da Costa, Hamer, James, McCallum; O'Hare, Biamou, Gyokeres

Watford possible starting lineup:
Bachmann; Femenia, Sierralta, Troost-Ekong, Masina; Cleverley, Chalobah; Sarr, Hughes, Sema; Deeney


SM words green background

We say: Coventry City 1-2 Watford

Xisco will hope that a change in system breathes new life into his players as on their day the Watford squad should have far too much quality for a team like Coventry. However, the Sky Blues have held their own in the Championship this season and will not be beaten easily.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a draw or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Draw/Away:data


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Nottingham Forest manager Chris Hughton pictured on January 23, 2021
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United StatesUnited States98825
ChinaChina95721
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Great BritainGreat Britain45413
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Wednesday's key events


ROWING
· Team GB have dominated the men's coxless fours in recent Olympics, winning on each of the last five occasions, but this year they face some stiff competition. They are one of four rowing medal contenders for Great Britain today (2.10am)

SWIMMING
· Katie Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus face off again in the women's 200m freestyle final, with the latter having already come out on top in the 400m event (2.41am)
· Team GB's Abbie Wood is among the medal contenders in the women's 200m individual medley final, while teammate Alicia Wilson will also take part. USA's Kate Douglass was the fastest qualifier, while world and Olympic record holder Katinka Hosszu is also involved (3.45am)
· Katie Ledecky could make it two golds in one morning as she goes into the 1500m freestyle final as heavy favourite, having broken the Olympic record in qualifying (3.54am)
· Team GB were by far the fastest qualifiers for the men's 4x200m freestyle relay final and will therefore be favourites for another gold in the pool (4.26am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· Team GB take on New Zealand in the first men's semi-final, having been beaten by reigning champions Fiji but then come from behind to overcome USA on day two (3am)
· The sevens gold medal match takes place at Tokyo Stadium, with the winner of Great Britain vs. New Zealand taking on either Argentina or Fiji (10am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Joe Fraser and James Hall compete for Team GB in the men's all-around final (11.15am-2.10pm)

CYCLING
· Anna Shackley will take part in the women's road time trial (from 3.30am)
· Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart have medal ambitions for Great Britain in the men's road time trial, although both will need to recover from the crash they suffered on Saturday (6am)

DIVING
· Jack Laugher bids to retain his men's 3m synchro diving title alongside new partner Daniel Goodfellow (7am)

EQUESTRIAN
· Charlotte Dujardin will look to add to her already legendary status with a third successive Olympic individual dressage title (9.30am-1.25pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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