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Preview: Watford vs. Sheffield Wednesday - prediction, team news, lineups

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

Automatic promotion contenders Watford will be looking to extend their winning run when they welcome Sheffield Wednesday to Vicarage Road on Friday afternoon.

The Hornets have won five matches in a row and occupy second place heading into the final stretch of the season, while Wednesday are in the relegation places.


Match preview

Watford's Nathaniel Chalobah celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates on March 20, 2021© Reuters

Watford's latest win came at home to Birmingham City prior to the international break, with Ken Sema, Nathaniel Chalobah and Andre Gray all on target.

Xisco's side have won nine of their last 10 matches and are six points better off than third-placed Swansea City, who have a game in hand to play.

Watford's promotion fate is very much in their own hands, then, but six of their remaining eight fixtures are against teams in the top 10, including Swansea on the final day.

Xisco deserves huge praise for guiding Watford up the table since his first game in charge on Boxing Day, with no side taking more points than the Hornets' 41 since then.

Not since January 2011, when Malky Mackay was in charge, have Watford won six league games in a row, but that is something they will be confident of achieving on Friday.

Sheffield Wednesday's Jordan Rhodes scores their first goal  against Barnsley on March 20, 2021© Reuters

However, despite Wednesday's lowly position, they did pull off a shock 2-1 win away at Yorkshire rivals Barnsley just before the two-week hiatus.

Jordan Rhodes scored twice at Oakwell to end Barnsley's impressive run of form and earn Darren Moore his first victory since taking charge.

The Owls are now unbeaten in two, having also played out a 1-1 draw with Huddersfield Town, and are six points adrift of 21st-placed Birmingham City with a game in hand.

Moore's men quite simply need to put a winning run together if they are to bridge that gap, but they are winless in their last four league games against Watford since 2013.

This will be Wednesday's first trip to Vicarage Road in the league since May 2015 when playing out a 1-1 draw on the final day of the Championship season.

Watford Championship form:
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Sheffield Wednesday Championship form:
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • W


Team News

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

Tom Cleverley is back available for Watford after returning to training this week, while Ismaila Sarr will undergo a late fitness test after struggling with a hamstring issue.

Captain Troy Deeney is moving closer to a return to action, having missed close to two months, but this game will come too soon for the striker.

Fellow attacker Sema is a major doubt, meanwhile, as he started Sweden's World Cup qualifier against Estonia on Wednesday.

As for Wednesday, they are expected to be without a number of first-team players for this trip to Vicarage Road.

Keiren Westwood was forced to pull out of the side that beat Barnsley due to an injury in the warm-up, but he should be back involved here.

Cameron Dawson, Moses Odubajo and Chey Dunkley are all sidelined, but Joost van Aken, Jack Marriott and Sam Hutchinson have a chance of returning this week.

Striker Rhodes seems certain to lead the line after scoring three goals in his last three Championship games, which is as many as in his previous 33.

Watford possible starting lineup:
Bachmann; Femenia, Troost-Ekong, Sierralta, Masina; Chalobah, Hughes, Gosling; Pedro, Success, Gray

Sheffield Wednesday possible starting lineup:
Westwood; Urhoghide, Lees, Borner; Palmer, Pelupessy, Bannan, Reach; Paterson, Windass; Rhodes


SM words green background

We say: Watford 2-0 Sheffield Wednesday

Wednesday revived their survival hopes before the international break with an impressive win at high-flying Barnsley, but they face a Watford side in superb form.

The Hornets have won five in a row, and nine of their last 10, so we cannot see past a home victory in this Good Friday fixture.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals 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.Over 1.5:data


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Watford manager Xisco Munoz pictured in February 2021
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Xisco Munoz "very happy" with Nathaniel Chalobah in Birmingham win
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
2Watford432510860283285
3Bournemouth4322111073423177
4Swansea CitySwansea4322101152341876
5Brentford422015772413175
6Barnsley43219135446872
7Reading4319111357461168
8Queens Park RangersQPR431711155151062
9Cardiff CityCardiff4316131459471261
10Middlesbrough43179175148360
11Millwall431417124244-259
12Luton TownLuton42169173646-1057
13Stoke CityStoke431414154547-256
14Bristol City43166214256-1454
15Preston North EndPreston43157214455-1152
16Coventry CityCoventry431312184056-1651
17Blackburn RoversBlackburn431311195449550
18Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest431214173441-750
19Birmingham CityBirmingham431213183250-1849
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield431212194562-1748
21Derby CountyDerby431110223151-2043
22Rotherham UnitedRotherham41116244256-1439
23Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds43129223655-1939
24Wycombe WanderersWycombe43810253267-3534

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