Middlesbrough to make life difficult for Watford

The Championship returns on Friday as newly-relegated Watford host Middlesbrough at Vicarage Road. Will the Hornets get their plan for an immediate return off to the perfect start? Have a read of our preview here:

Hornets looking for a stinging start

Vladimir Ivic takes charge of Watford for the first time in a league game as the Hornets host Middlesbrough on Friday.

Given Watford’s recent record with managers, he’ll be lucky if he survives the night. But his experience and reputation should harbour optimism from the home faithful.

His record at PAOK and Maccabi Tel Aviv in particular impresses. One Greek cup triumph and two league titles in Israel nestle well on a C.V. that highlight some impressive win percentages as a manager.

The Championship is ruthless, however, and this will be his biggest test yet, especially working under the notoriously impatient Pozzo family.

He still has talisman Troy Deeney to call upon and new signing Glenn Murray to score the goals to win them promotion and the creative talents of Roberto Pereyra and Gerard Deulofeu should be far too good for the second tier.

Whether Watford will make an immediate return very much depends on their star players thriving, but the Championship have swallowed up far bigger sides and that should be a motivating factor for the Hornets.

Warnock’s last hurrah

Neil Warnock’s record at this level speaks for itself and whenever he considers retiring there is always a club needing a manager of his specific talents that tempt him back in.

Boro were poor under Jonathan Woodgate and Steve Gibson probably gave the former defender more time than he should have, a rare thing these days.

This season could be another struggle at the Riverside. They have a decent squad but it lacks strength in depth.

Britt Assombalonga’s goals will be vital and Ashley Fletcher also plays an important role in attack. If Marcus Browne can reach his potential then they have a play in waiting who could create the chances they need to be successful, but there are a lot of doubts about this team.

Watford v Middlesbrough betting tip

The opening game to the Championship campaign is always earmarked as an exciting affair, however, this could be a fairly cagey match-up. With that in mind, we are backing this one to finish with under 2.5 goals at odds of 1.7 with bet365.

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