Stoke City manager Mark Hughes wants revenge when his side take on Watford in the Premier League at Vicarage Road on Saturday.
Hughes’ men were beaten 2-0 at the Britannia Stadium back in October as they endured a difficult start to the 2015-16 campaign, with Troy Deeney and Almen Abdi on target for Watford.
Stoke have since climbed up the table, though, and Hughes wants his team to show at the weekend that they have made progress since the reverse fixture.
“Watford are a very good team as they have shown throughout the season, they have good threats and the two lads up front are a handful too,” Hughes told Stoke City Player.
“Them aside, the rest of the team is good too, and they are hardworking and are able to get plenty of men behind the ball and make it difficult for you. We have seen that already this season when they came to our place and beat us 2-0 – deservedly so too, in my opinion.
“We need a better performance than we produced in the home game that is for sure. I am sure the lads will be ready to go there and show that we have moved on significantly from that day.”
However, Hughes will have to make do without the services of Xherdan Shaqiri (thigh), Ryan Shawcross (back), Glen Johnson (knee), Marc Wilson (knee) and Shay Given (knee).
Watford, meanwhile, have dropped to 14th in the table following a disappointing run of just two wins from their last 12 Premier League encounters.
They are still 12 points clear of the drop zone, though, and will have drawn confidence from their FA Cup quarter-final win over Arsenal last weekend – although that victory may have come at a cost with top scorer Odion Ighalo limping out in the closing stages, rendering him doubtful.
Head coach Quique Sanchez Flores is eagerly anticipating Saturday’s match and sees Stoke as a great model for his club to follow.
“Stoke are a good example of how it is possible to establish yourselves in the Premier League, how it is possible to grow and to think well,” he told the Watford’s official website.
“They are a really strong team. They have really good players, their midfielders and strikers are really competitive, they have very special players with skill and power.
“They have a lot of characteristics in their attack, so we need to be clever, we need to try to stop the best reference of this team, and then play like a team and try to have a very good performance.”
Aside from Ighalo, Watford have few injury worries heading into Saturday’s match, with Joel Ekstrand (hamstring) the only player expected to miss out.
Key Opta facts:
– Stoke City have failed to score in their last six league matches against Watford.
– There have been just 25 goals netted at Vicarage Road, fewer than at any other Premier League stadium this season.
– Only Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez’s goals have won their side more points this season (18 points) than Watford’s Odion Ighalo (15) and Stoke’s Marko Arnautovic (12).
– Only Manchester United (nine) have kept more clean sheets at home this season than Watford (eight).