Often Partisan

The Loan Rangers – Watford v Blues Match Preview

Birmingham City take on Gianfranco Zola’s Watford side at Vicarage Road in the televised Championship clash of the day. Lee Clark will be hoping for his first league win as Blues manager whilst Watford will be looking for their first home league win under Zola.

Watford FC

Since the takeover by the Pozzo family in the summer, Watford have brought in no less than ten players – eight of them on loan – with the bulk coming in from other Pozzo-owned clubs. It marks a paradigm shift from a team that relied heavily on its youth academy and it will be interesting how Zola juggles his temporary signings as football league regulations only allow five to be on the pitch at any time.

Watford captain John Eustace is struggling with injury and there may be debuts for veteran defender Marco Casseti and former Wolves winger Geoffrey Mujang-Bia who has just signed on loan from Standard Liege.


Stephen Carr again misses this match with a troublesome thigh injury, meaning it is likely Jonathan Spector will remain on the right side of defence. Ravel Morrison is a doubt with a niggle that kept him out of the game against Sheffield Wednesday and Lee Clark has to decide whether to start Nikola Zigic who has scored in both league games this season, both from the bench.

I think today will be all about formation; Lee Clark admitted he got it wrong against Sheffield Wednesday and he will see this as the time to put it right. I think Zigic may well come in up front as he has changed both games he has started, and I suspect the fall guy will be Wade Elliott with the central midfield being Hayden Mullins and Darren Ambrose. The other question is wide left which I could see being filled by Peter Lovenkrands.

Blues need to start winning, and I wonder if this will be the game that they will be able to do that. Without wishing to be offensive, I’m curious how a team that has had such a radical amount of personnel bought in on loan can gel and I don’t think it’s a good long-term plan for the Hornets to pursue. I’m going to go for a cheeky 2-1 away win with Zigic to continue his goalscoring form.

The match is televised live on Sky Sports 2, 5:20pm kick off.

Match previews sponsored by EZE Group - Lifestyle Experts

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30 Responses to “The Loan Rangers – Watford v Blues Match Preview”

  • Taxidermist says:

    Just to point out a small error in your article, International long term loans count as permanent signings, so Watford only have the home grown player rule to contend with.

  • Art Watson says:

    Wish I could be more optimistic but I think Blues will lose 2-0.

    I will be delighted to be proven wrong.

  • evesham blue says:

    Hmmm. Not sure where Often Partisan gets it’s optimism from. More likely a continuation of our most recent form. Cant see us turning the corner yet unless Zigic has one of his days

  • DoctorD says:

    I’m going to go for a 3-1 defeat. I’m not looking forward to the game.

  • TonyB says:

    Burke and King to score – 2-0 win.

  • skareggae72 says:

    I’m going to stick my neck out and predict we will perform far better than Villa today :)
    0-1 Zigic

  • Bluenosesol says:

    I remember the cries of derision when it was suggested that Blues should go for Holloway, currently 5-0 up and top of the league. Hey hum! I am hoping the Watford game will be our kick start. Villa losing 3-0, I predict we will beat Watford by the same score that Everton beat the Vile!!

  • Art Watson says:

    Half time and Blues are 2 down and playing atroiciously.

    It’s not good for the new management team.

  • evesham blue says:

    Zigic the saviour. So many deluded fans. I just hope and pray he is gone the end of this next week. Fat chance tho

  • DoctorD says:

    What did I say? A two-goal defeat.

    • evesham blue says:

      Aye and we are 8 points behind Blackpool already. I think we will turn it around but we shouldnt be struggling against the teams we have played so far.

  • John says:

    Butland created first goal..What was that swat at the ball and putting the whole defence under pressure all about
    Why is he playing?
    2nd goal although 1 on 1 he dropped to ground again before forward had commited himself.
    poor keeping but the whole team lacks any cohesion.
    Putting high balls into box was last resort and waste of time with Martin Taylor there.

  • Ryan Vernon says:

    For me there is a huge gap developing from chris and lee. The expectations are in a way evidence to that. The football we tried to play at watford was in no uncertain terms diabolical. The long balls/hoof from the centre backs up field, completely ruined the whole teams dynamics and style of play. Drastic improvement is needed. Especially, ball retainment ( never looked like keeping the ball at watford ), And IMO it looked like composure on the ball was near enough non existent.

  • Art Watson says:

    LC talks the talk but fails to deliver.

    The clocks ticking Mr C.

    • almajir says:


      It’s STILL August.

      We’ve played three games. Four if you count the cup. It is far, far, FAR too early to be saying “Clark Out” or that he’s on borrowed time.

      Some Blues fans need a reality check IMO

  • Alex T says:

    nice to see some of you jumping on Zigic’s back….Well done, very clever.

    Because he was the only poor player on the pitch, missed a hatful of sitters and caused the 2 goals to be conceded.

    Oh no, wait… He didn’t, he was as average as the rest of them with very little service to do anything with anyway…. hardly going to be able to be a beacon of light with that dross we played today was he??

  • dan says:

    Just one word EMBARRASSING

  • wrekinblue says:

    I think blaming individual players after a performance like that may well be a natural reaction but for me there was no organisation wihin the team. The midfield was non existant and because of that we created nothing and the ball was lost too easily. I may live to eat my words but I feel that so far we have flattered two of the more ordinary sides in the dividion.

  • DoctorD says:

    Leek Lark says:

    “Watford were excellent and I wouldn’t take anything away from their performance but we have given them two very poor goals. In general, it was a very poor performance in the first half. We were not good enough in the first half but it is a tough one because I know there is so much more in that dressing room. We all have to respond and bounce back and start working out a way to win football matches.”

    If there is one saving grace it is that none of the new managers are doing that well .. thankfully Lambert at the Vile has lost two of two, Hughton is on the back of a 5-0 thrashing followed by a 1-1, Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpoll were crap, AVB is doing sod all at Spurs. But maybe I am clutching at straws.

    Almajir, I am waiting for you to give us your reasoned perspective.

  • peter LEWIS says:

    The only consistent thing so far this year is…
    Marlon King OFFSIDE

  • Tom says:

    Alex T you defend Zigic every time someone says something about him just accept the fact hes rubbish, Zigic today looked like he should be on a Sunday league pitch, before i go to sleep im going to pray that by the end of the transfer window he is gone, by far one of the worst players iv ever seen at Birmingham, i remember Nafti and Tebily they were shocking but Zigic is on a whole new scale of rubbish, another thing the last few games iv noticed old LC chewing his gum and shaking his head personally i cannot see him being manager come xmas hopefully CY gets found not guilty and sacks LC puts some money into the club and finds a decent manager, another thing i noticed today Ben Gordan he is shocking aswell not saying i could of done any better, we definatly need atleast another 2 players Zigic OUT, LC come Xmas OUT hes not a good manager hes medioaka, Davies looked like he didnt want to be on the pitch sometimes which is a great shame i saw him play in his younger years at Luton and he was fantastic i think he could be sold by the end of the transfer window, as iv said before if i ever win the Euro Millions i would give blues the money to invest in George Elokobi the mans a beast!!!

  • Tom says:

    Sorry-Pal Dingle-KRO

  • Huddersfield Town fan says:

    Found the collection of posts and opinions on here interesting and hope you think the same about mine!. Clark absolutely cannot be faulted for his passion and genuine will to do well. Of course Clark needs time at the Blues, however, he was given way too much time at our Club for the reasons I am going to share and we have already seen the massive strides forward the Club has taken since he left. Firstly, we are in the Championship which was Clark`s remit from our Chairman, something he did not achieve despite in the best part of three seasons having for league 1, a massive amount of financial backing. Unbelievable in fact for league 1 where (and the Chairman has accepted errors on his part here) he was foolishly allowed to bring in a total of 44 Players in his tenure including loan Players (yes forty four). All you hear is he signed Rhodes and Pilkington (now Norwich), well, even a stopped-clock is right twice a day. He signed Players and did not play them, some being on a reported £10k a week (for league 1) and all we could achieve was play-offs (he did not win in 90 minutes any of the 5 play-off games he managed) and way too many draws. The unbeaten run was in large part draws and as we all know 2 wins and 4 defeats is not good, but gets you 6 points, the same as 6 draws , however Clark considered draws acceptable and boy could we draw (despite squad and Player wise having an unfair advantage over most of the Teams in the division). I am not surprised at your results and particularly the comments around Midfield. We NEVER had a midfield under Clark despite him signing boatloads of Players for those positions. We had no bite, no creativity and in fact struggled to pass to Players in the same team from Midfield, regularly being over ran by the opposition in this area. He could not pick the same team twice (largely due to the sheer amount of Players he had brought in) and tactically was inept. He also had no plan B if things were not going right. I worry for him at a club like Birmingham where he does not have an unfair advantage Player and budget wise llike he did with us in League 1. Grayson for us in no tiime at all has delivered us a Midfield that I simply cannot believe or recognise from the dross I have been watching these last few years, we have bite, aggression and boatloads of creativity and quality. We were going nowhere under Clark and I think he should have taken the Gillingham job and learned his trade a bit more before taking a job the size of Birmingham City. Give him a chance though as it is way too early to judge, however, I recommend that if it is not working, your Club acts quickly as our Chairman backed him for way too long at great personal expense to himself. All the best for the season.

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