Watford vs Burnley Preview: Clarets looking to continue impressive form
Expect a physical battle on Saturday (photo: Getty Images)

Watford vs Burnley Preview: Clarets looking to continue impressive form

Burnley have won four successive matches in all competitions and are edging away from the bottom three.

Chris Lincoln

Sean Dyche's Burnley are currently enjoying their best form of the season to date but travel to a Watford side who have also impressed in recent weeks after a flying start to the campaign.

Looking strong

The Clarets have scored seven and conceded just two since a battering at home to Everton on Boxing Day left them stranded in the relegation zone.

They have since climbed to 15th and are now three points ahead of the bottom three after a trio of successive wins in the league were sandwiched around an FA Cup victory over Barnsley.

Yet Watford have lost just one of their last eight matches and are unbeaten in four, currently claiming the 'best of the rest' tag behind the 'big six'.

The Hornets will go into this fixture with plenty of confidence after cruising past Burnley earlier in the season at Turf Moor but the Clarets did run out victorious when these two sides met in North London last April.

Doucoure expected to play

A particular point of interest will be the motivation of Watford powerhouse, Abdoulaye Doucoure. The central midfielder has expressed his wish to move on but no bids are believed to have been tabled thus far.

Doucoure is second only to Jose Holebas for assists this season and will be a key figure if selected, especially as Will Hughes is looking set to be sidelined with concussion.

Christian Kabasele and Andre Gray are expected to be fit enough just for the bench but Sebastian Prodl is definitely unavailable.

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Room for Hendrick and Westwood?

Watford enjoy playing a physical game and like to pack the engine room, so Burnley may find more success in wide areas. However, they are without the likes of Aaron Lennon, Jon Walters, Robbie Brady and their most creative player, Johann Berg Gudmundsson.

Nick Pope will not be considered and Tom Heaton is expected to continue ahead of Joe Hart in goal, whilst Ashley Westwood and Jeff Hendrick could both start in midfield after finding some form in recent weeks.

Dyche's selection will prove an interesting one as he is unlikely to want to change the 4-4-2 formation that has proved so successful in the past few games. Hendrick could be forced to play out wide to cover the absentees as Jack Cork is likely to be an important selection at the base of midfield to monitor Watford's talented top scorer, Roberto Pereyra.

Important to continue momentum

There have been three goals or more in eight of the last nine meetings at Vicarage Road between these two sides and it would not be a surprise if there was more of the same on Saturday.

Even though both sides are playing well, a defeat for Watford could drop them into the bottom half of the table whilst Burnley could find themselves back in the relegation scrap if they can't extend their winning run.