Cardiff vs Watford preview: Victor Camarasa in contention for hosts
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Last Updated: 22/02/19 7:31pm
Cardiff could move four points clear of the Premier League relegation zone if they beat Watford on Friday.
Neil Warnock's side have won their last two matches in a row to boost their survival hopes, and they return to action following a 13-day break.
In that time Warnock and Cardiff chief executive Ken Choo have been to Argentina to attend Emiliano Sala's funeral.
Cardiff would move up to 13th place by claiming a third successive top-flight win, something they have not managed since April 1961.
"To get three wins on the trot in the Premier League for a club like Cardiff is nigh-on impossible," said Warnock.
"Watford are probably the best team in the league outside the top six. They're a strong physical side who have got good players and, although it was 3-2 down there, they beat us well.
"But in adversity, you tend to pull together and that's been the situation here. What's happened has made us play more of a tempo. We've got good players, and it's about believing in ourselves."
Watford advanced to the FA Cup quarter-finals with victory over QPR last weekend and would move into seventh in the table if they beat Cardiff.
They have only lost once in all competitions since the start of the year.
Cardiff hope Victor Camarasa will be fit enough to start. The on-loan Real Betis midfielder has been troubled by a calf injury since the start of January but he made a cameo appearance from the bench in Cardiff's last game, a 2-1 win at Southampton.
Defender Sean Morrison has stepped up his recovery this week after an operation to have his appendix removed, and could rejoin the squad.
Watford will welcome back Roberto Pereyra and Isaac Success.
Pereyra (calf) and Success (hamstring) have both missed the last three matches, but will travel to south Wales.
Defender Sebastian Prodl is in contention to make his first league appearance since October. Kiko Femenia (hamstring) definitely misses out.
- Cardiff have lost just one of their last six home league meetings with Watford (W4 D1), though it was the last such match in December 2014 (2-4).
- Watford are looking to secure their first league double over Cardiff since the 2005-06 campaign, when they were in the Championship.
- Cardiff won their only previous Premier League game played on a Friday, beating Wolves 2-1 back in November.
- Cardiff are looking to win three consecutive top-flight league games for the first time since February 1961.
- Watford have kept a clean sheet in three of their last four Premier League matches, as many as they had in their last 21 in the competition. They're looking to record three consecutive league shutouts for the first time since September 2017.
- No team has scored more 90th-minute goals in the Premier League this season than Cardiff (5), with three of those being winning goals - also a joint league-high.
- 21% of Cardiff's Premier League goals this season have been scored by their substitutes (5/24), the highest ratio in the division.
- Cardiff have already won as many Premier League games this season (7/26) as they did in their previous campaign in the competition in 2013-14 (7/38).
- This will be Cardiff manager Neil Warnock's 38th meeting with Watford in all competitions (W13 D7 L17), making them the club he's faced the most in his managerial career. Against no other side has he lost more games than he has against the Hornets (17, also vs Reading).
- All 10 of Watford's Premier League victories this season have come with Abdoulaye Doucoure in the starting lineup, with the Hornets failing to win all four games the Frenchman has not started (D3 L1).
This is a massive game for Cardiff. If they can win this, then it puts severe pressure on the other teams around them. Watford are a bag of Revels, you don't know what you are going to get, but on their day they are a good team and this will be a hard game for Cardiff.
If Cardiff stayed up, it would be absolutely huge. They are pulling up trees where they are now. That result against Southampton in their last game was phenomenal.
It's the end of February and nobody could say they are definitely going down, which is a big compliment when you look at Huddersfield and Fulham.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-1 (5/1 with Sky Bet)