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Watford vs Birmingham predictions: Hornets' new hitman can sting the Blues
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Simon Barlow
Valerien Ismael may be under pressure but Watford have beaten Birmingham eight times in the last 10 meetings
Valerien Ismael may be under pressure but Watford have beaten Birmingham eight times in the last 10 meetings

- Mileta Rajovic scored twice on his first start for Watford 
- Watford have beaten Birmingham in eight of their last 10 meetings 
- Recommended bets: 
- Watford to win
- Mileta Rajovic to score anytime

Watford will attempt to kickstart their campaign when they host in-form Birmingham City at Vicarage Road on Saturday.

Without a win in four league games, the Hornets occupy 18th place in the Championship and know they need to put a run together to get back to where they want to be.

But boss Valerien Ismael finally got the striker he needed at the end of August and the early signs are that Mileta Rajovic, who scored twice on his first start for the club, could make the difference.

Watford will need to be close to their best to beat the Blues, who sit in fourth spot and remain one of only two unbeaten clubs in the division.

Team news

Watford could be unchanged from the team that drew 3-3 at Coventry just prior to the international break with new striker Rajovic now more familiar with the system and his teammates after two further weeks of training.

On-loan Newcastle United defender Jamal Lewis has suffered a setback in his attempt to return from a calf problem and will not feature.

As for Birmingham, Juninho Bacuna could drop out of the team that started against Millwall after his latest transatlantic trip to the Caribbean to represent Curacao.

Jordan James, who played on after being hurt in a challenge during Wales' win in Latvia on Monday, is the most likely replacement on the flank.

No other changes are expected with Scott Hogan keeping his place up front, despite missing a penalty at The Den.

Tyler Roberts is closing in on a return to action following a spell on the sidelines while Ethan Laird and Siriki Dembele, who both came off during Birmingham's win over Bristol City last month with hamstring injuries, remain doubtful.

The stats

John Eustace has steered Birmingham to their best unbeaten start since 2015
John Eustace has steered Birmingham to their best unbeaten start since 2015

After opening the season with a four-goal blast before half-time against Queens Park Rangers, Watford have not scored at Vicarage Road in the subsequent two and a half matches.

But the Hornets have won eight of their last 10 league games against Birmingham (D1 L1), taking the points with a 3-0 victory in last season's corresponding fixture.

Birmingham's current five-match unbeaten run in the Championship is the club's longest sequence of games without defeat since April 2021 (six games).

The last time the Blues opened a campaign without tasting defeat in their first five games was between August and September 2015.


Watford were unlucky not to beat Coventry last time out with Ryan Porteous claiming he was fouled in the build-up to the Sky Blues' late leveller.

The Scotland international had earlier conceded a penalty when harshly adjudged to have handled in the box while centre-back partner Wesley Hoedt had scored an own goal in bizarre circumstances.

The fact that Watford were able to overcome these difficulties and take an away point was largely down to the presence of new striker Rajovic, who hit the ground running with two goals on his first start for the club.

The Dane, who scored 13 goals in 26 games for Kalmar last season, looks like he could be a real handful for Championship defences and ought to be a big threat to Birmingham's backline this weekend.

After four wins in a row, the Blues are now winless in two and could be catching Watford at a bad time after the hosts had time to regroup during the international break.

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