Watford vs Burton Albion: Hornets looking to avoid upset as they seek repeat of last season's FA Cup run

Last season’s FA Cup semi-finalists Watford are looking to return to Wembley Stadium this term but will first need to overcome Championship opponents Burton Albion in the Third Round to start their journey.

Burton - who sit 21st in the second-tier - travel to Watford looking to take their first ever Premier League scalp in the FA Cup in only their sixth third round appearance.  

Watford looking for first win in five

Watford’s promising start to the season seems like a distant memory as the Hornets have fallen from the Europa League places to 14th in the league and now look like they could be dragged into a relegation battle.

The Hornets have won just two of their last ten games and are currently on a five-game winless run which includes a 4-1 drubbing against Tottenham and 2-0 defeat against Stoke since the turn of the year.

Walter Mazzarri’s side have struggled in front of goal recently scoring just two goals in their last five games with one being a 91st minute consolation against Tottenham. If Watford are to progress to the Fourth Round, they will need the likes of Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo to step up.

However, the Watford boss will be looking to the visit of the Brewers as a perfect opportunity for his side to get back to winning ways and begin another successful cup run.

Burton targeting cup upset

Similarly to Watford, Burton Albion’s life in the Championship started well but their form has dipped in recent weeks and they are now just one point above Blackburn in the relegation zone.

Burton have won just two of their last 11 Championship games with both victories coming against basement club Rotherham.

Despite this poor run, Albion have scored in six of their last eight games and haven’t lost by more than a goal since mid-November. Unfortunately for Nigel Clough’s side they can’t seem to edge victory in the close games this year.

The Championship side do have some dangerous players such as Jackson Irvine who has already grabbed eight goals this season.

Last time the teams met

This weekend’s FA Cup Third Round tie between Burton Albion and Watford marks the first time the sides have ever met.

Watford have never won the FA Cup but did reach the final in 1984 before falling to a 2-0 defeat to Everton. The Hornets earned a place in last year’s semi-finals but suffered a 2-1 defeat to eventual runners-up Crystal Palace.

Burton Albion have only progressed to the FA Cup Fourth Round once in the 2010-11 edition of the competition, after they knocked out Championship side Middlesbrough in the Third Round.

Team News

Watford will be without Roberto Pereyra and Adrian Mariappa who are both sidelined with knee injuries. Stefano Okaka is still struggling with a hamstring injury while Daryl Janmaat and Valon Behrami are both doubts.

However, both managers could make substantial changes and rest key players ahead of crucial league fixtures.

Predicted Starting XI’s

Burton: McLaughlin; Mousinho, McFadzean, McCrory, Akins; Naylor, Palmer, Irvine, Dyer; Sordell, Ward.

Watford: Gomes; Kaboul, Prodl, Britos, Kabasele; Sinclair, Behrami, Capoue, Guedioura; Deeney, Ighalo.