Opposition View: Watford v Bolton Wanderers

Ahead of Saturday’s Championship opener against Bolton Wanderers, we spoke to Dennis Chase, who runs the popular Bolton Wanderers blog Lion of Vienna Suite.

Forza Watford! editor Jamie Leah also answers some questions in the opposite direction, which you can view here.

Check out Lion of Vienna Suite and head honcho Dennis on Twitter!

What are your expectations ahead of the 2014-15 season?

Bolton supporters split into two groups when it comes to expectations: cautious optimists, who believe we will be fighting for promotion, and dire fatalists, who believe that chairman Phil Gartside is the devil incarnate and that manager Dougie Freedman is nothing more than one of his minor demons.

I fall into the former camp, and I expect us to be fighting for a play-off spot come April.

Are you happy with your side’s business conducted during the transfer window so far?

We have signed a few defenders, and I am happy about this, because despite the lack of a goal-scoring striker, it is the defending that has let Wanderers down the last few seasons.

We signed a new central defender in Dorian Dervite, a new left-back in Dean Moxey, and a new right-back in Kevin McNaughton.

Dorvite is probably third in the pecking order, but I expect both new full-backs to start on Saturday.

What are your side’s strengths?

It’s a bit hard to explain. When it comes to talent and depth, our squad is heavy on central midfielders, but when you look at us on the pitch, we are often overrun in the middle of the field.

I think when it comes to the individuals, they are quite good, but they have had trouble functioning as a cohesive group.

What are your side’s weaknesses?

Defensive focus. We just switch off at the back three or four times a match. If our opponents finish those chances, we get hammered, if they don’t, we get a result.

Is Dougie Freedman the right man for the job?

I think he is, but I think he needs a someone to take care of the signings.

Freedman has brought in a few decent players, but I would rather see him focus on coaching those players. Let someone else negotiate contracts and signings.

What is your perception of Watford as a club?

I guess I look at Watford as similar to Bolton in a lot of ways: a smaller club in a working class area on the outskirts of a major city with loads of big clubs always casting a shadow.

However, I didn’t grow up in the UK, so that is very much an outsider’s perspective.

If you could sign one Watford player for your club, who would it be and why?

A striker. Honestly, any striker.

What is your expected line-up and score prediction ahead of the game?

This is the side I expect Freedman to play, in his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation, on Saturday although I would personally make two changes:

Lonergan; McNaughton, Ream, Mills, Moxey; Spearing, Medo; Feeney, Mark Davies, Danns; Beckford.

As for predictions, I think it will end 2-2.

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