Match Preview: Watford vs. Sheffield United

Last updated : 15 January 2009 By @blades_mad1889

watford vs. sheffield united
The Hornets come into this fixture at Vicarage Road on back of a heavy defeat at Reading - the Royals boosted their Premiership ambitions with a 4-0 victory at the Madejski Stadium; former Sheffield United defender/midfielder Chris Armstrong got the home side on there way with a 38th minute volley.

Reading Duo Noel Hunt (67) and Kevin Doyle (68) netted quick fire goals to extend their lead and the damage was done further when Blades target Leroy Lita (89) beat keeper Scott Loach one on one.

Watford manager Brendan Rodgers is likely to field a squad similar to that which took a pasting to the hands of Steve Coppell's Biscuitmen; but will be without experienced keeper Mart Poom (shoulder) and midfielder Gareth Williams (crucial ligament) whom are both sidelined by injury.

Also two former Blades players may be up against them with; defender Jon Harley and striker Steven Kabba all former favourites at Bramall Lane.

Harley, 29 had three spells at the Lane having featured twice on loan before making a full (and free) transfer from Fulham in June 2004, in all (including loan spells) the former Chelsea defender made 71 (+1) starts and scored on three occasions. He left United in August 2005 and joined Lancastrian outfit Burnley.

Kabba, 27 spent the first half of the 2008-09 season on loan at Blackpool where he made a slight impression, but he has returned to Vicarage Road and may feature against the Blades. He was signed by Neil Warnock in November 2002 from Crystal Palace but was plagued by injury during his Lane reign. He was sold to Watford in January 2007 having started 54 (+34) times and scored 23 goals.

Possible Hornets Line-Up: Scott Loach, Gavin Hoyte, Jon Harley, Jay DeMerit, Adrian Mariappa, Lee Williamson, Ross Jenkins, Tommy Smith, Jobi McAnuff, Jack Cork, Tamas Priskin.

Sheffield United, whom are seven Championship fixtures unbeaten prior to their FA Cup date with Leyton Orient last Tuesday night; and six games (home and away) since they lost 3-2 at home to Burnley - the last time United lost a league fixture away from home was the Steel City Derby were Sheffield Wednesday won 1-0.

Blades boss Kevin Blackwell will be without midfielder Gary Speed (back) and defender Ugo Ehiogu (Achilles) who are both out for the remainder of the season. United will also be without striker James Beattie whom left the club early this week in a £2,500,000 transfer to Premier League outfit Stoke City.

The players are likely to wheel out three former Hornets strikers to play against them at Vicarage Road; Leigh Bromby, Danny Webber and Darius Henderson - the former netted the only goal in the Blades last Championship fixture at home to Norwich City last Saturday.

Bromby, 28 was sold to the Vicarage Road club by the Blades in January 2008 in a £600,000 fee, he had originally joined after being released by Sheffield Wednesday in June 2004 - during his stay at the Lane he notched up 117 (+6) appearances and scored six crucial goals. He also featured for Mansfield Town and Norwich City on loan - Leigh returned to the Lane this week and is expected to feature against the Hornets.

Webber, 27 joined the Blades from Watford after an initial and successful loan spell in June 2005 in a £500,000 transfer fee; he joined the Vic from Premier League giants Manchester United in July 2003 after four years as a professional with the Old Trafford club. Whilst at Watford Webber notched up a total of 67 (+13) and scored 21 goals.

Henderson, 27 arrived at Bramall Lane in July 2008 from Watford in a £2,000,000 transfer has a replacement for Rob Hulse whom had left for Derby County. Darius was signed for the Hornets from Gillingham in August 2005, winning promotion via the play-offs in his first season. Whilst at the Vic he made 96 (+21) appearances and had a great scoring record, finding the back of the net 31 times.

Possible Blades Line-Up: Paddy Kenny, Kyle Naughton, Chris Morgan, Matthew Kilgallon, Gary Naysmith, Danny Webber, Brian Howard, Nick Montgomery, Stephen Quinn, Darius Henderson, Billy Sharp.