MX23RW : Friday, June 25 01:39:01| >> :120:30356:30356:
Feb 19, 2021 at 7.45pm UK at Vicarage Road
DerbyDerby County
Pedro (19'), Hughes (21')
Hughes (20'), Cleverley (42')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Troost-Ekong (77' og.)
Buchanan (45'), Byrne (90+1')

Preview: Watford vs. Derby County - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Friday's Championship clash between Watford and Derby County, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Watford welcome Derby County to Vicarage Road on Friday evening looking to strengthen their bid for automatic promotion from the Championship.

While the Hornets are unbeaten in three matches, Derby have moved clear of the relegation zone after recording five wins from their last six outings.

Match preview

Watford manager Xisco Munoz pictured in February 2021© Reuters

On the back of three matches without a win and just one goal being scored, Watford supporters were quick to make comparisons between former boss Vladimir Ivic and incumbent Xisco.

However, a 6-0 victory over Bristol City and a hard-fought 1-0 success at Preston North End have lifted the mood at Vicarage Road, giving fans hope that their side can still challenge for the top two.

Their three nearest rivals have matches in hand, something which needs to be taken into consideration when evaluating Watford's chances of gaining automatic promotion.

Nevertheless, Xisco has now collected 20 points from his 10 league matches in charge, and maintaining that ratio may be enough to edge out the likes of Norwich City, Brentford and Swansea City come the end of the campaign.

The Hornets have also kept four clean sheets in their last five fixtures, the only goals conceded coming during the final 17 minutes of their defeat to Queens Park Rangers.

While Watford can currently claim to be a team very much on the up, their next encounter comes against the form team in the second tier over the past six games.

Like their hosts, the only real blot on Derby's copybook came courtesy of an unexpected capitulation during the closing stages of their game at Rotherham United on February 3.

Wayne Rooney's side have responded with back-to-back 2-1 wins over Middlesbrough and Wycombe Wanderers, the latter being achieved through a last-gasp strike from defender Andre Wisdom.

Despite the threat of relegation now not causing immediate concern, Rooney will stress to his players that they must remain focused in their bid to occupy a mid-table spot before the closing weeks of the season.

Watford head into this contest with the most productive home record in the division, leaving Derby as underdogs to improve on their recent away run of three wins from five contests.

Watford Championship form: WDLDWW

Derby County Championship form: WWWLWW

Team News

Derby County manager Wayne Rooney pictured on February 13, 2021© Reuters

Rooney has suggested that Matt Clarke should be fit for Friday's fixture, despite suffering minor eye and hip injuries earlier this week.

Manchester United loanee Teden Mengi will hope to retain his place at right-back, while Lee Buchanan may return on the opposite flank after dropping to the substitutes' bench at Adams Park.

Dan Gosling and Philip Zinckernagel are both pushing for opportunities in the Watford XI after featuring as replacements at Deepdale.

Will Hughes may drop to the substitutes' bench after playing 90 minutes in successive matches for the first time this year.

Watford possible starting lineup:
Bachmann; Femenia, Cathcart, Sierralta, Masina; Cleverley, Chalobah, Gosling; Sarr, Pedro, Zinckernagel

Derby County possible starting lineup:
Marshall; Mengi, Wisdom, Clarke, Buchanan; Waghorn, Knight, Shinnie, Jozwiak; Kazim-Richards, Gregory

SM words green background

We say: Watford 1-1 Derby County

A third game in less than a week will lead to both managers considering several changes for this contest. With any alterations putting their current momentum at risk, we feel that a competitive draw could be played out at Vicarage Road, a result which would suit Derby more so than their hosts.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting a home 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.Home Win:data

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Watford manager Xisco Munoz pictured in February 2021
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