There is live televised EFL Championship action this Friday night and it comes from Vicarage Road where Watford host Reading.
Xisco’s Hornets are making a real charge for automatic promotion but, with Brentford breathing down their neck, cannot afford to slip up if they are to guarantee themselves a second place finish.
Visiting Reading, under the charge of Veljko Paunović, are themselves hopeful of playing in the Premier League nest season, albeit through the tricky, tricky playoffs.
Can either of these two strengthen their promotion claims this Friday night and take maximum points on the 41st game week of the EFL Championship season?
With just six matches remaining, Watford are looking to solidify their hold on second place in the EFL Championship.
The Hornets are on a great run of form, winning four of the last five games, but squandered their lead against Middlesbrough on Easter Monday when they conceded a late equaliser.All the same, Watford are in delicious form, losing only one of their last 13 and that back in February.
Xisco’s men got away with it in the end thanks to Brentford and Swansea City failing to take advantage, meaning that even a share of the points couldn’t stop the Hornets from strengthening their claims to an automatic promotion spot.
Nine points clear of Brentford, who have a game in hand, the Hornets have the advantage over the Bees but, if they want to avoid a sting in the tail end of the season, they cannot afford to let three points slip this week.
In all, Watford, who, like league leaders Norwich, are looking to make an immediate return to the top flight, are on a seven match unbeaten run in the Championship.
Over that period, they have also plundered 14 goals while shipping just three.
Their visitors this Friday evening are Reading who finally helped themselves to a win last time out against Derby County at the fifth time of asking.
While the Royals are the current possessors of the final play off spot, they are in the dubious predicament of knowing that they will drop out of the zone if Bournemouth, who have a game in hand, take advantage of their spare fixture.
As such, every point is critical as we enter the final stretch of this EFL Championship season.
They really do have their work cut out for them here though. The strongest home team in the division, Watford boast the Championship’s best home points total with 50 points taken from the 60 available.
Watford V Reading Head To Head
- Reading have banked 10 wins from 29 of the previous encounters between these two teams.
- In contrast, Watford have racked up nine wins over that time.
- This leaves 10 times these two have drawn.
- Watford have won three of the last four meetings between the pair.
- But it was Reading who won 1-0 in the reverse fixture back in October.
- The last time they met at this venue, the Hornets ran out 4-1 winners.
Watford Match Facts
|Top Scorer||Ismaila Sarr (10)|
|Leading Assists||Ismaila Sarr (4)|
|Form Last 5 Matches||W – W – W -W – D|
- Watford have best home record in the Championship’s with 50 points out of a possible 60.
- The Hornets are unbeaten in six and have lost only once in their past 13 games.
- Watford are currently top of the form table for this division.
- Reading won their last match, which was their first win for six games.
Reading Match Facts
|Top Scorer||Lucas João (22)|
|Leading Assists||Michael Olise (10)|
|Form Last 5 Matches||D – L – D – D – W|
Watford Team News
Xisco has two players that he is unable to call on long term injuries Troy Deeney, who is recovering from an Achilles tendon issue, and Tom Dele-Bashiru, who won’t play again this season
The good news for the Hornets boss is that there are no new injury problems to report.
Reading Team News
No such luck for Paunović however who is reeling from the news that defender Michael Morrison will miss the remainder of the regular league season with a hamstring problem. There is hope that, should they make it, he could be back in time for the EFL Championship Playoffs.
There is also a doubt hanging over defender Tom McIntyre who has a knee injury.
The match has come around to quickly for Midfielder John Swift who has not quite recovered from a hamstring problem, but there is hope that Felipe Araruna could yet play a part in the game having got over his own knee issue.
Watford V Reading Betting Tips
It is hard to see this match not going the way of the home team. They are in sizzling hot form, the best in the league at present and have no new injury concerns.
Reading on the other hand, while not losing many matches, are struggling to dispatch opponents and will have a few players missing for their trip to Vicarage Road.
Given the above, and with Ismailia Sarr in such excellent form, we are going heavy on the Hornets to win both halves and Sarr bagging at least one at some point with the Royals, who in Lucas João, have one of the highest goal scorers in the division, registering at least one themselves. Reading do like a goal after all and have now scored in eight successive contests, so can be fancied to find the back of net.