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Match Preview: Watford v Bolton Wanderers

Chris takes a look at the upcoming game against Watford.

His name is Zola, he was a showgirl
His name is Zola, he was a showgirl
Jamie McDonald

Saturday sees Bolton Wanderers making the trip down to the capital for this tough away fixture. Watford are experienced at this level, finding themselves in the midst of their seventh consecutive season in the Championship.

The clubs first met back in 1969 in the Second Division, with the clubs eking out a 0-0 draw before the return game at Burnden Park in October 1969 which saw Watford come away with the spoils following a 3-2 win. It would take until 1981 for Bolton to defeat Watford, a 2-1 win at home with goals from John Thomas and Neil Whatmore.

Since then, we have met the Hornets on 29 occasions, winning ten and drawing five. A famous game between the two clubs is the 1999 First Division Play Off Final at Wembley which Watford won 2-0 despite a strong Bolton side including Mark Fish, Eidur Gudjohnsen and Ricardo Gardner.

Managed by ex-Parma and Chelsea man Gianfranco Zola, the club has undergone a transformation since the 2012 purchase of the club by the owner of Italian side Udinese and Spanish team Granada, the businessman Giampaolo Pozzo. Since the takeover, Pozzo has invested heavily in the club, including the loaning of several thousand players from Granada and Udinese in a pretty elaborate form of cheating.

Transfers into the club include familiar names to Championship watchers. Lewis McGugan arrived on a free transfer from Nottingham Forest, as did Uche Ikpeazu from Reading. Eleven other signings included  eight from Udinese and three from Granada all on ‘free' transfers. Yeah, right, free. Josh McEachran also would join on loan from Chelsea. To accommodate these new arrivals meant that outgoings would be inevitable. Fourteen players would leave Watford for pastures new.

That aside, Watford have had a solid start to the season. An undefeated pre-season was followed by two consecutive wins as the season began - they defeated Birmingham City 1-0 in the Midlands, before smashing league new boys Bournemouth 6-1 at Vicarage Road.

Despite this strong start, a four game winless streak which included three draws and a 0-1 away defeat to Blackpool would follow. September was more successful, with three wins and a draw sending Watford back up the table, finding themselves in seventh position as they welcome Bolton this weekend.

Last Five Meetings

07.01.2006 - Watford 0 v 3 Bolton Wanderers (Jared Borgetti, Stelios Giannakopoulos, Ricardo Vaz Te)

09.09.2006 - Bolton Wanderers 1 v 0 Watford (Gary Speed)

03.02.2007 - Watford 0 v 1 Bolton Wanderers (Nicolas Anelka)

15.09.2012 - Bolton Wanderers 2 v 1 Watford (Matt Mills, Kevin Davies)

02.02.2013 - Watford 2 v 1 Bolton Wanderers (Marvin Sordell)

Prediction

I am confident. I am really confident. I think we'll win. I stake my reputation on it.

Heart - Watford 0 v 5 Bolton Wanderers (Jermaine Beckford x5)

Head - Watford 1 v 2 Bolton Wanderers (Jermaine Beckford x2)