U18 Preview: Watford vs. Cardiff City
Cardiff City’s U18 side face Watford this Saturday at UCL Sports Ground, as the Bluebirds look to return to winning ways on the road – 10:30am kick-off.
Know your Opponent
Saturday’s hosts are currently sat in first place following an emphatic start to the season, with Simon Clark’s side accumulating 22 points from their opening 10 matches. The Hornets have only lost on two occasions so far, with their most recent defeat coming against Bristol City last weekend.
Watford finished in eighth last season, having won eight of their twenty-eight league games during the 2018/19 season, registering thirty-one points.
Despite this, the Hornets enjoyed a thoroughly successful run in the FA Youth Cup, reaching the semi-finals of the competition. They recorded victories against Birmingham City, Southampton, Ipswich Town and Leicester City before bowing out of the competition to Liverpool at Anfield on March 17th, 2019.
There were a number of coaching changes towards the end of the 2018/19 season for Watford, as they appointed Simon Clark as Lead U18 coach.
Clark appeared over 250 times in total for Peterborough United, Leyton Orient and Colchester United, before retiring as a player in the 2005-06 season. Just three years later he enjoyed a brief spell at Lincoln City with the club in League Two.
The Hornets also appointed a new academy Manager in May 2019, as they appointed Richard Thomas, following his success at Leyton Orient in previous seasons.
Thomas enjoyed a period of four years as the O’s Academy Manager, with Leyton Orient’s U18 side clinching a league title before Christmas on one occasion during his time at the club. More recently, he worked at Notts County under Kevin Nolan as assistant manager.
Last Time Out
The last trip to Watford was largely fruitful for the Bluebirds, as they claimed a late 3-2 victory at UCL Sports Ground on January 5th, 2019.
Dan Griffiths opened the scoring for City, netting his eleventh goal of the 18/19 campaign, firing past Watford stopper Hoskins with absolutely no chance from inside the box. Griffiths later got an assist in the 35th minute as Sion Spence doubled City’s lead – scoring his first goal since returning from injury.
Spence proceeded to net his second of the match and Cardiff City’s third to put the game out of sight in the 65th minute. Despite this, the hosts scored through Mchiernan and Dom Hutchinson in the closing stages of the match to ensure a nervous finish, but City remained resilient to claim all three points on the road.