Watford vs Crystal Palace Preview: Hodgson faces Palace as Watford seek crucial points in relegation battle
Credit: Mark Thompson / Getty Images. 

After an impressive result away at Aston Villa on Saturday, Watford are seeking back-to-back victories in the Premier League for the first time this season as they host Crystal Palace at Vicarage Road this evening. 

For Watford Manager Roy Hodgson, who spent four seasons in the Crystal Palace dugout,  it is the first time he will face his former club since departing them at the end of last season.

Meanwhile, for the man that replaced him, Patrick Viera, tonight's match is another opportunity for his Palace side to pick up their first three points this calendar year, having not won a league game since they beat Norwich City 3-0 at Selhurst Park in December.

Team News

There are no fresh injury concerns ahead of the match for Watford after Saturday's victory at Villa Park. 

Joao Pedro and Juraj Kucka, who were both absent for the trip to Villa, will be assessed ahead of the fixture.

Long term absentees Peter Etebo, Kwaadwo Baah and Nicholas Nkoulou all remain out. 

Meanwhile, for Crystal Palace, Chelsea loanee Conor Gallagher, unable to play against his parent club at the weekend, should slot straight back into the midfield for tonight's clash. 

Right-back Joel Ward will miss out once again though, with an injury picked up last week. 

Nathan Ferguson also remains out injured after sustaining a knock in a behind-closed-doors friendly last month. 

Viera confirmed that the rest of the Palace squad have trained as normal this week, meaning both Tyrick Mitchell and Vicente Guaita, who both picked up knocks against Chelsea, should be available for selection.

Managers have their say

Speaking ahead of the fixture, both managers focused on Roy Hodgson's time at Crystal Palace, with Hodgson himself saying it was going to be a 'special match'. 

"It's going to be a special match because my four years at Crystal Palace were very special, as I've said on many occasions." said Hodgson.

"So many of the players that will be playing against us are players that I worked with during the course of those four years, many of them the whole spell. So it will be strange to be lining up on the other side, wishing them harm and wishing us well."

"There's never any sentiment. You work for the football club that are paying your wages and the club that rely upon you to get a result for their team to earn your money, so you can't have sentiment.”

"But this one, it's a special occasion, not least of all because of our table position and the need for us to try and get results."

Meanwhile, Patrick Viera praised Hodgson for setting solid foundations at Selhurst Park

"Nobody will take away what Roy did at this football club. He spent four or five years here and I think he did a fantastic job." said Viera.

"I think the foundations of this football club are really solid and I think Roy was one of the people who put those in place to allow the next manager to come and work."

"He brought stability to this football club and players with experience and that allowed me to come to this football club and count on some of those who know the club really well. That is what I think he left this football club."

Predicted line-ups

Watford 

Foster; Kiko Femenia, Cathcart, Samir, Kamara; Louza, Sissoko, Cleverley; Sarr, Dennis, King.

Crystal Palace

Guaita; Clyne, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell; Kouyate, Gallagher, Schlupp Zaha, Olise; Edouard.

How to watch

Watford vs Crystal Palace is set for a 7:30 PM (GMT) kick-off on Wednesday, 23rd February. 

The match will not be broadcast on television in the United Kingdom. 

 

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