Sheffield Wednesday: Watford seek staying power

Watford keeper Manuel Almunia with Jermaine Johnson
Watford keeper Manuel Almunia with Jermaine Johnson

Watford boss Beppe Sannino is urging his players to make it a fight to the finish at Hillsborough.

The Hornets have continually conceded late goals, for example on Tuesday when an injury-time strike by Rudy Gestede nicked a 3-3 draw for Blackburn at Vicarage Road.

Leon Best’s late winner at Hillsborough against Brighton illustrated the value of perseverance. But Sannino said: “We nearly won this game. But it was not only this game. Since I have joined this club there have been many games where we have dropped points in the last five minutes.”

Watford have also not won away since October, when Gianfranco Zola was manager.

The Owls’ 1-0 win Vicarage Road in December was followed by Zola’s resignation and the appointment of his fellow Italian.

Sannino this month led his team to a club record of six successive home wins, but their play-off hopes have all but vanished.

They are 12th, 10 points off the top six, though with a game in hand, and will be overtaken by Wednesday if they lose at Hillsborough.

Eighteen-goal striker Troy Deeney could be their best hope of them ending that lean away run.

He has the incentive of becoming the first Hornets player to hit 20 goals in two successive seasons since 1961.

However, the team’s defending and the goalkeeping of Manuel Almunia were questioned after the Blackburn game.

Sannion said that the players are not giving what fans deserve in terms of points, performances, and the position in the table. The last win was the one that set the club’s record home run, 3-0 against Barnsley on March 15.