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Terry Pierce - Malky Mackay's youthful Watford are buzzing

Published: 28 Sep 2010 - 07:37:29

When the pre-season previews and predictions were made there was one name cropping up again and again when the discussion turned to Championship strugglers – Watford.

Experts, ex-pros and journalists across the media - myself included - singled out Malky Mackay's young side and the Hornets were quickly branded as relegation fodder.

But I for one have been served up a nice slice of humble pie over the opening couple of months of the season.

Mackay is working with one of the smallest budgets in the second tier. He has a tiny squad and a battle on his hands to keep any of his stars.

But his side are absolutely flying.

The Golden Boys currently sit third and have won the last three, scoring 11 goals in the process and smashing Millwall 6-1 on their own patch.

I had the pleasure of watching their 2-0 demolition of Bristol City, also away from home, and they looked a quality side, although the Robins were particularly dreadful.

And most recently, they embarrassed big-spending Middlesbrough, racing into a 3-0 lead within 20 minutes and running out comfortable winners.

They have very few stand-out players, but the team spirit and work rate is absolutely incredible.

And Mackay should receive a ton of credit.

He is managing to motivate and inspire a group of average players to play above themselves, and they fully deserve their place among the early pace-setters.

Their squad size will work against them in the long run, and every point they currently take should still be seen as one more towards survival because as soon as they suffer any injuries to key players they could really plummet.

But for the time being, the spirit and desire of the players to perform above themselves for their boss is more than enough to encourage Hornets fans to look up rather than down over the next couple of weeks.

And long may they continue to prove me - and everyone else - wrong.

Wednesday woeful on and off the pitch

It's been a terrible couple of weeks for Sheffield Wednesday.

They had made a terrific start to life back in League One and sat top of the pile a month ago.

But a run of four straight defeats has seen Alan Irvine's side plummet into the bottom half of the table.

And yesterday brought another blow for the Owls when Chairman Howard Wilkinson responded to fans' protests by suggesting that if he and chief executive Nick Parker walk away from the club, as the fans want, then receivership beckons.

All sides of the mess at Hillsborough need to tread carefully and pull in the same direction if the club is to survive and, eventually, prosper.


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Terry was born and bred in Wiltshire, and is a massive Swindon fan - travelling the length of the country most weekends to watch the 'mighty' Reds. He also manages a successful(ish) Sunday league side, and his life pretty much revolves around football. Five-year-old Terry was in the crowd when Swindon won promotion to the Premier League in 1993 with a 4-3 play-off win against Leicester. He cried after every goal. Read Terry's thoughts every week on life outside the Premier League. Follow Terry on Twitter @telpierce.

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