Monday, May 22, 2017

Championship Preview: Watford on the brink of promotion

SoccerNews in English Premier League 24 Apr 2015

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Watford have the chance to win the title and clinch a Premier League return as the penultimate weekend of the Championship season is poised to produce plenty of drama at both ends of the table.

Victory for Slavisa Jokanovic’s men in Saturday’s early kick-off at Brighton and Hove Albion will heap the pressure on the chasing pack of Bournemouth, Middlesbrough and Norwich City.  

Should that trio slip up – Bournemouth and Middlesbrough lose against Fulham and Bolton Wanderers respectively, while Norwich fail to beat relegation-threatened Rotherham United – then Watford will back in the big time for the first time since 2006-07. 

Regardless of how Watford’s promotion rivals fare, Jokanovic knows his side’s destiny is in their own hands, with a home game against Sheffield Wednesday to come on the final day of the season. 

“It is a great moment,” said the Serbian, who only took over in October, 

“We don’t achieve anything yet, but we can enjoy a little bit what we are doing.”

News of Rotherham being deducted three points on Friday for fielding an ineligible player last month adds extra significance to this weekend’s fixtures at the bottom. 

Wigan Athletic would have been relegated last weekend had they failed to defeat Brighton prior to Rotherham’s setback, but Gary Caldwell’s team kept their side of the bargain and could now remarkably exit the drop zone by beating Wolves, who need a win themselves to keep their play-off dreams alive. 

Defeat for Rotherham and anything less than a victory for Millwall against Derby County would be enough to allow Wigan a way out of the relegation places heading into the last game. 

However, Wigan will drop down to League One if Rotherham win and they fail to match that. Millwall will join them if they are beaten and Steve Evans’ men are triumphant.

Ipswich Town, who host Nottingham Forest, will guarantee a play-off spot by bettering the results of Wolves and Brentford, who travel to Reading.

Elsewhere, Wednesday entertain Yorkshire rivals Leeds United, Charlton Athletic are on the road at Birmingham City, Cardiff City clash with relegated Blackpool and Blackburn Rovers tackle Huddersfield Town.

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