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Interview With An Away Fan: Watford FC

Leeds face an in-form Watford side on Saturday with three points the only option if the play-off dream is to stay alive.
(Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)
Leeds face an in-form Watford side on Saturday with three points the only option if the play-off dream is to stay alive. (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)
Getty Images

For our old readers the Interview with an away fan feature will be nothing new.

For our new readers, we basically try our best to interview the opposition before each game. You've seen it all before I'm sure.

This Saturday the Whites tackle Watford at Elland Road and their on a good run. At the moment they're only four places behind us in 14th and if they do beat Leeds then they will go level on points (don't think like that though). So for this weeks interview I got in touch with Jason Bailey who is one of the members of Watford podcast From The Rookery End.

The questions are after the jump...

When we last spoke you were 17th in the league. A little higher now in 14th, are you content with that?

Absolutely! We've passed the magic 50 point mark in the last week and we're higher in the table than we thought we would be. I feel quite relaxed looking down at Coventry, Portsmouth et al and the huge gap between them and us. I fully expected us to be down there battling with them. Especially after the slow start we had.

Sean Dyche wasn't the man for everyone you said last time, has he being changing opinions?

I've certainly heard fans who were calling for his head earlier in the season saying they stand corrected. We are currently on 54 points, which is the same number of points Malky Mackay achieved in his first season as manager. The next target in my eyes is the 61 points we finished with last season, which is definitely gettable. I think it's surprising people that he has been able to match what Malky has achieved without some of the players MM had at his disposal.

Six points outside the top 6 and only three outside the top ten. Where do you think you can realistically finish?

I think we won't be too far from where we are now. We have a difficult, but interesting run-in. Other than Peterborough, all of the teams we have left to play currently sit between 4th and 10th. It means we have a big say into who will get into the play-offs, with some suggesting it could help us with a late charge for the end of season excitement. Personally I'm not so sure as we have struggled against the better teams this season.

You're unbeaten in the past four beating both in form Ipswich and Derby in the process. What's been the difference considering you've been quite inconsistent this season, has this run being coming or has something drastically changed?

It's strange, as when Marvin Sordell was sold on the last day of the transfer window, having been snatched away from the match squad that had travelled down to Millwall by our owner, we were wondering where the goals were going to come from. Yet since then, and including that Millwall game, we've only lost two games in the league. We've had some fresh faces in, two of whom I'll talk about later. Unfortunately, a third, loan signing Alex Kacaniklic, has returned to his parent club Fulham this week. He particularly shone after coming on as sub in the dramatic turnaround against Burnley & was the creative force behind the win at Derby. We've also seen a sudden improvement in the form of Chris Iwelumo who put in a good shift at West Ham where we picked up a point and was the inspiration behind last week’s victory over Ipswich.

What's the update with the ownership of the club and Mr Bassini?

There were rumours of Udinese's owner coming in to buy the club from Bassini last month, but nothing came of this. He has given us some indication of his investments into the club and the first fruits are expected to be revealed over Easter when the Red Lion pub opposite the away turnstiles is re-opened after renovation. Many fans are still sceptical, although the good on pitch performances seem to have kept many quiet on this front recently.

Which Hornets players are in form and who could be a danger on Saturday?

Those other two fresh faces... Whisper it round Elland Road, but we have Man Utd's fourth choice goalkeeper Tomas Kuszczak on loan until the end of the season. And bar a bit of aimless wandering around his box on his debut, he has been outstanding for us. We've also seen the introduction of youngster Sean Murray from our Academy. Rumours are the big guns were sniffing around last summer. And with five goals in his last seven games (from midfield); it was pleasing to see him sign a three year contract earlier this week.

What formation should we be expecting from Watford, will you play counter-attacking being away from home or go for it?

We're likely to be playing the same formation as we did in the Vicarage Road game earlier in the season. An indication of Sean's intentions will be the starting forward line. I'm expecting to see Iwelumo up front with the hard working Troy Deeney, which will see the Hornets looking to hit them early with their backs to goal, holding up the ball and looking for Murray and other attacking options to join them. It will be interesting to see who replaces Kacaniklic down the left. Craig Forsyth is an obvious choice, but Dyche may opt to use Deeney wide and give another chance to striker Britt Assombalonga who has gone from Academy, to Wealdstone, to Braintree, to WFC 1st team this season.

We're pretty much nearing the end of the season, who do you think will go up and go down?

Southampton have proved me wrong, I didn't think they'd last. But they'll go up along with Reading who have hit form at the right time. West Ham haven't got the crowd behind them and that may be telling in the long run. I have no idea who will take the play offs! No one seems to be on a good run. Birmingham's great home form could take them to Wembley, but who they'll be up against I just couldn't predict!!!

Doncaster's team of mercenaries and two from Bristol City, Coventry and Portsmouth to go down. I think it depends on this fresh injection of talent that Bristol City have received and whether it will prove enough to take them away from the other two.

Prediction for the match?

I fear that losing Kacaniklic might leave us struggling up front and put too much on Murray as the creative outlet. One nil home win. Unless we can nick a last minute penalty or something.