Watford and Leeds United find themselves at the complete opposite end of the football spectrum ahead of the FA Cup fifth-round tie at Vicarage Road.
Most Leeds fans want to pin their Italian owner to the wall – Watford fans would sanction a statue of Gino Pozzo outside the ground. Leeds picked up Watford outcast Toumani Diagouraga for a nominal free from Brentford last month – the Hornets signed Spain international Mario Suarez. Leeds are nine places off the bottom of the Championship – Watford are ninth in the Premier League. In the dugout on Saturday Watford will have, according to the Telegraph, the most stylish man in the Premier League. On the Leeds bench will be Steve Evans. Saturday’s fourth official Oliver Langford knows from which bench his ears are likely to be bashed on Saturday.
“I know who he is,” said Sanchez Flores when asked by BBC 3 Counties Radio in his briefing with the local media this morning. “He’s really special, he’s a character. I love it because it feels funny, he looks funny. I love this kind of coach. He’s a good character. I’m ready to say hello and get to know this manager.”
Evans has done his homework and says he’s watched Watford three times.
“I think we are taking on the second biggest success story of the Premier League this season, the first being Leicester,” he said this afternoon. “What’s gone quietly unnoticed is the success of Watford. We know how tough the task is going to be. He’s got multiple options but I expect them to be very strong. They could pick any XI from the 25, but I would be surprised if there wasn’t a maximum of two changes from the game against Crystal Palace on Saturday.”
Sanchez Flores will have received detailed reports from his trusted analyst on Leeds’ last two games, at least. The head coach watched them on TV against Middlesbrough on Monday night.
“They have a good team,” Sanchez Flores said. “They have power, they try to play football, more than some others in the Premier League. They have three good players in the middle who play well. We need to respect the opponets. We analysed Leeds and they changed the tactics for Middlesbrough. They have two very good strikers and they try to play well.”
Evans and Troy Deeney are friends and exchanged messages when the draw was made.
“Deeney has been one of the stars of the Premier League, ” Evans said. “He had many knockers but he’s the one player who made the difference every week in the Championship, whether he was playing with Ighalo, who is very special, or the boy Vydra, who is very special. Every time I see Watford, Deeney is getting better and better.”
• Tickets are still on sale to Watford fans on the club’s ticket database for Saturday’s game. Click HERE for more details