Nottingham Forest - Watford

After the previous “rollercoaster campaign” which eventually resulted in Championship survival, club management decided to open a check book and re-built the squad which should be capable to involve into fight for a play-off. Boss Billy Davies brought even nine players in the club. Dexter Blackstock - QPR's top goal scorer last season, David McGoldrick - Southampton's top goal scorer last season, Dele Adebola another excellent striker, Chris Gunter – excellent Welsh defender and international, Paul McKenna - long time Preston captain and key midfielder in this Forest team, Lee Camp - good goalie and couple more. Forest started this season, it can be said, tragically unlucky. Opening game, against Reading at Madejski, passed in too cautious play by Forest and though they could get all three points (Reading had zero shoots on goal!), noticed just a goalless draw. At the second game, they hosted always strong WBA and were even more unfortunate. They were dominating side for the whole 90 minutes, missed a couple of very good chances, wasted a penalty kick and at the end lost by an own goal! Beside the bad luck, they’re fighting against big injury problems in defence line. Three regular defenders are injured, James Perch (shin), Julian Bennett (knee) and Kelvin Wilson (ankle), while fourth Luke Chambers is suspended! Winger McCleary is carrying a knock and he’s in a doubt. Nottingham Forest are seeking their first win and first goal of this league season and probably couldn’t get a better rival for that.

After very turbulent previous season which is ended in the middle (13th place), Hornets come into new campaign expecting a tough battle to avoid relegation. Excellent manager Brendan Rogers who was meritorious for pulling the club from the bottom, went to take a charge in Reading (got the job with a recommendation from Jose Mourinho). His replacement is Malky Mackay and that is his first managerial job. Club also lost key striker Tamas Priskin (15 goals scored last season) who signed for Ipswich. They still have a few well known and quality players, like goalie Scott Loach (England U-21 international), excellent defender and US international Jay DeMerit, striker Nathan Ellington, new signing from Carlisle United - striker Danny Graham, but it is obvious in the long run they simply don’t possess enough quality. Recent season started in their well known manner, with a home draw (1-1) against Doncaster Rovers and defeat on the road against Sheffield United (0-2). Midfielder Don Cowie has a hamstring injury and will require a late fitness test for tonight’s encounter. Additional problem for a team harmony is possibility of losing key forward Tommy Smith who is interesting for a number of clubs. Defeat at the City Ground would mean the Hornets only had one point after the first three games for the third time in five seasons and I haven’t found anything that could prove me they can get something from this game.

After two times where they were desperately unlucky, Forest will have a nice opportunity to finally start a good run of results against, I can say, weak Watford. Hosts have six top strikers and great midfield. Big problems in defence can only suggest on possibility of over 2.5 goals, but not on final winner. I’m confident in a home win and even a –1.5 handicap should be a nice bet. Pinnacle offer 1.86. Home win.
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