Watford v Pompey - The Watford view
Ahead of our upcoming game against Watford, I asked Vital Watford editor, Tom, on his opinions on their season so far among other things. You can find his answers here...
After a poor season so far, do you feel your performances so for this season warrant your current position (21st) in the table?
Yes, absolutely. Sean Dyche has been quite candid in admitting we've started quite slowly this season in general and in a number of games so far this season we've played well in patches without seeing it through to get the result that that section of performance in isolation deserves. For example against Burnley on the opening day of the season we roared ahead 2-0, sat back and for most of the second half it was patently obvious we were going to win the game. Against Middlesbrough on Saturday we had a little 10 or 15 minute period where we were on top, we failed to take advantage, played poorly for the rest of the game and rightfully lost.
Ultimately, the signs are there but it's about improving to replicate those flashes over 90 minute periods as often as possible.
Sean Dyche is a name not many opposition fans would be familiar with. Do you feel that appointing someone lacking in experience has contributed to the recent lack of form? Do you rate him as a manager? Can you see a future for him?
A very interesting question. I can't see a future for him on the simple basis that like every club we have a vocal impatient minority who expect everything to click immediately. That obviously never happens in football. I think that eventually they will get their way if results do not pick up.
As a manager, he's learning his trade so it would be harsh to judge at this stage really. I desperately want him to do well because he is a good, honest, hard-working bloke and he has the iron-will to make things work. He is however shooting himself in the foot sometimes I feel. The big strength of Watford football club is our excellent academy set-up and consequently the continual exciting youngsters we produce. Malky Mackay and Brendan Rodgers both utilized this, Dyche hasn't and that rankles with a lot of fans - myself included. His constant answer to poor performances seems to be chucking more mud at the wall in the hope it will stick; represented by our revolving door loan policy. Yes we have great squad depth for the first time in years, but with the five sub rule and no reserve team this can be detrimental.
The long and the short of it is he is finding his feet - player rotation and no clear 'style' of play by his own admission is not helping that.
Do you feel that Dyche's career as a defender is having a negative influence on the team's threat in front of goal this season?
Perhaps. But then we're conceding a number of goals as well. As mentioned above Dyche has said he likes to have a 'mix' of styles and that means we have no clear identity. I think that is having more of a negative impact on the team's goal-scoring. As is signing strikers such as Craig Beattie who have a 0.19 scoring ratio throughout their career.
After winning 3 of your last 4 home games, do you feel that Vicarage Road is a tough place for opposition to gain anything from?
Not at all. It's very easy in fact. There is no atmosphere, the morons will boo or jeer anyone who isn't meeting their standards (manager included) - more often than not it's a morgue. The players might trot out the same old clap-trap about the fans creating an atmosphere but they don't. The most worrying trend is that the idiots who do boo and jeer the players fail to realize the negative impact that has on players - the younger ones in particular.
Which player(s) have impressed of late and who should Pompey be wary of?
Marvin Sordell has goals in him and is our main threat but he can go off the boil very quickly if he's not getting the rub of the green - this tends to happen after he's been with the England U21 set-up so expect a stinker next week from him. In midfield Prince Buaben and Jonathan Hogg have been something of a revelation since they've been paired together. That has come about since captain John Eustace has been injured and as Dyche has said a 'positive coming from a negative'. Buaben adds the drive we hoped that Hogg would add when he signed whilst the latter has really come on now he's been freed to play the holding role all by himself rather than sharing it with Eustace.
What do you think the final score will be?
A tight 1-1. Which I'd take, there are some good players in that Portsmouth squad.
Thanks to Tom for his insight, and here's hoping that it'll be a great game after our week off. In return, I answered some questions he had about Pompey's season so far, which will be found on Vital Watford (here) soon.
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