npower Championship
Saturday January 12 2013
Middlesbrough v Watford
Kick-off 3pm

THE two sides will meet for the 30th time in the league, Boro just edging the overall record in previous encounters with 13 wins compared to Watford's 11, leaving five draws.

This fixture has never finished in a goalless draw, home or away.


Injuries and suspensions

Boro have several injury concerns going into this one.

Seb Hines, Andre Bikey and George Friend have all had hamstring injuries but are training and will be assessed ahead of the game.

Emmanuel Ledesma has had a knee problem but could also return.

Checks will be made on Josh McEachran, who was substituted during the home win over Blackburn on Boxing Day with an ankle injury. He could be eased back to action from the bench. 

Jonathan Woodgate is a doubt with a calf injury picked up on New Year's Day at Derby.

Andy Halliday underwent an operation on a broken nose on Monday but could still be involved.

Justin Hoyte is likely to be missing after injuring his hip against Blackpool and Marvin Emnes (hamstring) is also set to sit it out.

The long-term trio of Julio Arca (toe), Muzzy Carayol and Curtis Main (both knee) are not far off returning to the squad.

Manuel Almunia (hamstring) missed the FA Cup defeat at Manchester City last Saturday, Almen Abdi suffered a pelvic injury in the same game, but it is reported both have trained this week.

Jonathan Hogg (hamstring) and Fitz Hall (hamstring), Tommy Hoban (Achilles) and Neuton (kick) are all doubtful.


In Opposition

Watford finished last season in 11th place in the Championship under Sean Dyche, five places and six points behind Boro.

There were several changes made over the summer, most notably the sacking of Dyche in early July. The former defender took Watford to their highest finish in four years, but new owners, the Pozzo family, had new ideas.

The replacement was Gianfranco Zola and the Italian has since overseen an influx of loan players into Vicarage Road - nine in total - from Serie A club Udinese, who are also owned by the Pozzo family.

Watford have two players who have reached double figures in terms of goals scored, Matej Vydra, below, with 12 and Troy Deeney with 10. Vydra was sent-off in the reverse fixture at Vicarage Road, while Deeney scored after 26 seconds.

Matej Vydra - Photo-Getty Images

The Hornets currently occupy the final play-off spot, ahead of Millwall on goal difference. They are two places and seven points behind Boro with a game in hand.

Watford have a squad of 29 from 14 countries, including 13 on loan. They have another nine players out on loan. They have used 33 players, the most in the Championship.

Mark Yeates played 19 games and scored one goal for Boro in 2009-10, John Eustace - who returned last Saturday after five months out injured - had a 90-second Boro career while on loan from Coventry. Midfielder Jonathan Hogg was born in Middlesbrough.

Watford have had the most red cards in the Championship, four, and the second-highest number of yellows, 46. They have also given away six penalties.


Head-to-Head

Last six meetings at The Riverside

Click on the scores in red to read the match report

2011/12 - Championship

05-11-2011: Boro 1-0 Watford

2010/11 - Championship

19-03-2011: Boro 2-1 Watford

2009/10 - Championship

17-10-2009: Boro 0-1 Watford

2006/07 - Premier League

07-04-2007: Boro 4-1 Watford

1999/00 - Premier League

06-05-2000: Boro 1-1 Watford

1999/00 - League Cup third round

13-10-1999: Boro 1-0 Watford


Diary Dates

Five years ago - Jonathan Grounds makes a debut in a 1-1 home draw with Liverpool. George Boateng puts Boro ahead and Fernando Torres scores Liverpool's first goal at the Riverside in five years.

10 years ago - Alen Boksic's last game, at home to Southampton, with their boss Gordon Strachan Manager of the Month after eight games unbeaten. James Beattie, as ever, scores twice but Boro come from 2-0 down to draw with a Noel Whelan wonder-goal and their first penalty in 15 months, from Massimo Maccarone.

15 years ago - Craig Hignett scores a last-minute winner in the Coca Cola Cup quarter-final at Reading and is then left stranded as the coach leaves without him. Three days later they lose 3-0 at Charlton and drop to second in what was then Division One.

20 years ago - Ten days after the game was postponed, Boro beat Chelsea 2-1 in the FA Cup with goals from Tommy Wright and Willie Falconer.

25 years ago - It takes a Paul Kerr goal in extra-time to beat Sutton United in the FA Cup replay at Ayresome Park.

30 years ago - Jim Platt and Terry Cochrane play their last games at Ayresome Park as Boro throw away a two-goal lead to draw with Bishops Stortford, then three days later their last for the club as they come from behind to win the replay with two David Shearer goals.

35 years ago - A day to remember as Boro win 4-2 at St James' Park and dump Newcastle on the bottom of Division One. Billy Ashcroft (2), Stuart Boam and Stan Cummins score, and David Mills' flick over a defender's head is immortalised in the Tyne Tees Shoot titles.

40 years ago - Manager Stan Anderson quits after a 1-0 cup defeat at Third Division Plymouth.

55 years ago - Alan Peacock hits a hat-trick in a 4-1 home win over Cardiff.

80 years ago - Boro cruise to a 4-1 cup win at Second Division Manchester United.

85 years ago - George Camsell scores his 24th goal in 26 games and Joe Peacock the other two in a 3-0 FA Cup home win over South Shields.

100 years ago - Boro survive their first trip to The Den and take Millwall back north for a replay after a goalless draw.


Vital Statistics

Since a 3-1 defeat against Bristol City in the last week of November, Boro have won five successive games at the Riverside scoring 14 and conceding three, two of those in one match (against Blackpool).

Mowbray's side have lost just one of their last 10 at the Riverside, winning eight, drawing one and losing one.

Middlesbrough have won four successive home games in the league for the first time in four-and-a-half years and last won five in a row 15 years ago.

Watford have lost their last two games, 4-3 at home to Charlton in the league and a 3-0 FA Cup defeat at Manchester City. The loss at home to the Addicks is the Hornets' only defeat in the last four league games.

Goals could be on the cards in this one, as Boro's last two Championship games have seen a total of 10, five for and five against; while Watford's previous two league matches have seen 11 goals, six for and five against.

Watford have the second-best away record in the Championship, six wins and only four defeats, and they are the top scorers away from home in the division with 27 goals, six of them coming in one game at Leeds.

Watford's last away loss came with a 1-0 reverse at Blackburn towards the end of October. They have won three of their last five away games, scoring 13 goals in the process.

They have scored in all but one away game, but have yet to keep a clean sheet - all four this season have been at home.

The Hornets have let slip a lead in three of their last four league games.

Watford have visited the Riverside on six previous occasions and have won just once, a 1-0 victory on October 17 2009.

Andy Halliday's goal against Hastings made him the 19th different scorer this season. The record is 20, set two seasons ago. Boro have never had so many different scorers halfway through a season.


Last time out

October 6 2012
Championship

Watford 1 Middlesbrough 2

Scott McDonald came off the bench to score the winner as Boro came from behind against 10 men to win their third successive game away from home.

Scorers: Deeney, 26 seconds; Emnes, 29; McDonald, 78.

Watford: Almunia (Capt); Neuton, Hall, Pudil, Cassetti, Hoban, Chaloba, Hogg, Abdi (Yeates 68), Deeney (Geijo 57), Vydra. Subs: Bond (gk); Doyley, Ekstrand, Smith, Murray.

Middlesbrough: Steele; Hoyte (McDonald 39), McManus, Bikey, Friend, Haroun (Ledesma 65), Leadbitter, McEachran, Bailey (Capt.), Emnes, Jutkiewicz (L Williams 76). Subs: Leutwiler (gk); Hines, Halliday, Smallwood.

Referee: Steve Rushton, Staffordshire.

Sent-off: Vydra, 43, stamping.

Bookings

Watford:
None
Middlesbrough: McEachran, 75, foul; Ledesma, 90+1, dissent.

Attendance: 12,006 (935 Boro)

Conditions: Relatively warm and sunny

Website Boro Man of the Match: George Friend

Possession: Watford 42% Middlesbrough 58%

Shots

Cards

Goals

On target

Off target

Blocked

Corners

Yellow

Red

Watford

1

6

4

4

2

0

1

Boro

2

7

5

3

8

2

0


Referee: Mark Brown, East Yorkshire.

Mark Brown - Photo-Getty Images

This is the 20th game of the season for Mr Brown, but only his fourth at Championship level. His other games have been spread across Leagues One and Two, the Capital One Cup and the JP Trophy.

So far he has shown 49 yellow cards, one of the lowest in the division, and five red cards, one of the highest.


Weather

A dry, bright, cool day is forecast with the temperature expected reach no higher than three degrees for the game. A 6mph easterly, north-easterly breeze might freshen things up just a little.


Tickets and Travel

Click here for all your ticket news


Related Content

Boro+ Highlights from Boro's last five home games against Hastings, Blackpool, Blackburn, Wolves and Huddersfield.

Boro+ So far so good for Scott McDonald

Boro+ Looking ahead to Watford with Tony Mowbray