The Sky Blues head to Vicarage Road to play Premier League side Watford, on Tuesday night, in the second round of the Carabao Cup. Here’s everything you need to know about our opponents.
Stadium: Vicarage Road (first opened 1922)
Nickname: The Hornets
Address: Vicarage Road, Watford, WD18 0ER
Pitch Size: 120 x 80 yards
Watford impressed last season, finishing 11th in the Premier League, as well as reaching the F.A. Cup final, and are currently enjoying their longest spell in the Premier League, with the 2019/20 campaign their fifth consecutive season in the top flight.
However, the club have endured a difficult start to the current season, losing all three of their opening league fixtures.
They were beaten 3-0 at home on the opening day of the season by Brighton & Hove Albion before then losing 1-0 away to Everton at Goodison Park. Last time out, they suffered a 3-1 home defeat to West Ham United which leaves them rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table.
Javi Gracia began his managerial career with Villarreal’s youth sides, before taking the reigns at Spanish third tier side Pontevedra CF, guiding the club to consecutive top two finishes in the league, but falling short in the play-offs on both occasions.
He did eventually secure promotion from the third tier in the 2008/09 season, leading Cadiz to the title in his first season with the club. After brief spells with Villarreal’s B team and Greek sides Olympiacos Volou and Kerkyra, Gracia returned to Spain to manage Almeria ahead of the 2012/13 campaign.
Gracia led the Andalusian club to promotion from the second tier and back into La Liga, in his only season with the club. After another season-long stint, this time with Osasuna, Gracia was appointed as Malaga’s new manager in the summer of 2014.
During his two years with Los Malaguistas, Gracia led the club to consecutive top-half finishes in La Liga before then departing to spend a solitary season with Russian side Rubin Kazan.
He became Watford’s new boss in January 2018, replacing Marco Silva in the dugout, and helped the Hornets reach the F.A. Cup final for just the second time in the club’s history last season.
Last Six Games (Including Friendly Matches)
Won – Bayer Leverkusen 1-2 Watford
Won – Queens Park Rangers 0-1 Watford
Won – Watford 2-1 Real Sociedad
Lost – Watford 0-3 Brighton & Hove Albion
Lost – Everton 1-0 Watford
Lost – Watford 1-3 West Ham United
Last Time We Met
The last meeting between the two sides was back in March 2012, playing out a goalless draw at Vicarage Road in the Championship.
Sean Murray headed over from six yards out for the home side early on, before Britt Assombalonga then glanced another Watford header over the crossbar.
City thought they had taken the lead when Nathan Cameron headed home Gary McSheffrey’s corner only for referee Colin Webster to rule out the goal for a push at the near post.
McSheffrey continued to cause Watford problems when his cross from the right picked out Clive Platt with the striker’s powerful downward header cleared off the line by Adrian Mariappa.
Former City man John Eustace then side-footed wide the hosts best chance of the match from six yards out before Hornets keeper Tomasz Kuszczak tipped McSheffrey’s venomous effort around the post moments before half-time.
Sky Blues goalkeeper Joe Murphy made an excellent save to deny Troy Deeney’s drilled effort before then producing a magnificent double save.
The Republic of Ireland international first denied Deeney from point blank range before then palming away another effort from Eustace.
Substitute Cody McDonald came close to finding a winner for the Sky Blues late on, when his effort was scrambled away by Mariappa.
Sky Blues Wins – 36
Draws – 16
Watford Wins – 40
The Sky Blues current left-back came through Watford’s academy system and made four senior appearances for the club, making his debut for the Hornets in a 4-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur in the 2016/17 Premier League season.
After a brief loan spell with Dundee United in Scotland he signed for City on a permanent basis in July 2018. He has since gone on to play 33 times for the Sky Blues in all competitions and has played in all the club’s league games so far this season.
Current England U21’s manager Aidy Boothroyd began his managerial career with Watford, taking charge in March 2005, at the age of just 34-years-old.
Having steered the club to safety the previous season, Boothroyd achieved promotion to the Premier League in his first full season with the club as they defeated Leeds United 3-0 in the Championship play-off final.
However, he would suffer relegation from the top flight after finishing 20th in the Premier League the following season but did at least manage to reach the F.A. Cup semi-finals.
The Hornets clinched a play-off spot the following campaign but couldn’t repeat their play-off heroics from two seasons ago, losing 6-1 on aggregate to Hull City in the semi-finals.
After a season managing Colchester United, he was appointed Sky Blues boss in May 2010, replacing Chris Coleman in the City hotseat.
However, Boothroyd failed to replicate the success he enjoyed with Watford during his time with the club, managing City in 39 matches across all competitions.
He was then appointed manager of Northampton Town, in November 2011, steering the club to safety before mounting a promotion push the following season. Town fell short of promotion, after losing 3-0 to Bradford City in the League Two play-off final at Wembley.
Currently, leading England’s U21 side, Boothroyd has also coached the U19’s and U20’s. He managed the U21’s to the 2018 Toulon Tournament title, defeating Mexico 2-1 in the final.
Gavin Ward will be the man in the middle on Tuesday night, taking charge of his fifth EFL fixture this season.
He’s already refereed three Championship fixtures, as well as one League One match, this season.
Having dished out 12 yellow cards and three red cards, across his four matches this season, Ward has handed out, on average, just under four cards per game.
Ward last refereed the Sky Blues in their 1-1 draw against Notts County in the first leg of their League Two play-off semi-final back in the 2017/18 promotion winning campaign.
He will be assisted, on Tuesday night, by Mark Pottage and Timothy Wood with Christopher Kidd acting as fourth official.