Watford celebrate 100 years at Vicarage Road with a midweek home clash against Middlesbrough in 2022-23 Sky Bet Championship.
Victory could put Watford as high as second if results elsewhere go in their favour, whilst Middlesbrough can move up towards the top-half of the table with a win.
Rey Manja is ruled out for Watford with a hamstring injury which forced him off the pitch in Saturday’s home defeat to QPR.
Keinan Davis (illness) could return but Jeremy Ngakia (back), Tom Cleverley (fitness), Imran Louza, Tom Dele-Bashiru (both knee) and Samuel Kalu (hamstring) remain absent.
Middlesbrough could welcome Zack Steffen back after the American goalkeeper missed Saturday’s win over Swansea with a knock.
Manager – Chris Wilder otherwise has no fresh injury concerns to report as Josh Coburn and Chuba Akpom both remain absent with knee injuries.
- Watford are unbeaten in their last seven Championship meetings against Middlesbrough (W4, D3).
- Middlesbrough have claimed just four points from their last seven Championship visits to Watford (W1, D1, L5).
- Watford have conceded just twice in their last five Championship meetings against Middlesbrough – drawing 1-1 in October 2014 then April 2021.
- Ken Sema and Joao Pedro have both produced two goals and one assist for Watford in their six league matches so far this season.
- Matt Crooks has produced two goals and assists apiece in five appearances for Middlesbrough this season.
As Watford mark their centenary at Vicarage Road, there should certainly be a party atmosphere but the defence shouldn’t play to the occasion, especially because their marking against QPR at weekend was poor and costly amidst great spirited fightbacks to level twice.
Middlesbrough meanwhile looked much better in their win over Swansea than they’ve been in recent weeks, with excellent pressing and attacking intensity but were unlucky to not keep a clean sheet due to a stray handball from Darragh Lenihan so there is still work to do defensively in positioning.
A clean performance therefore could very well be the difference because if Watford’s defence are again sloppy, I can see Boro taking advantage clinically and likewise if Boro revert to their recent standards prior to Saturday’s win.
A draw on that note feels like a fair bet with both teams likely to rotate their squads for this match.
Prediction: Watford 1-1 Middlesbrough