Watford manager Gianfranco Zola predicts Championship promotion race will go to the wire
Watford beat Hull to close the gap on second
Friday 05 April 2013
Watford manager Gianfranco Zola believes the npower Championship title is still far from being decided ahead of tomorrow's match against leaders Cardiff.
Cardiff are seven points ahead of second-placed Hull, who are one point above Watford in third, and also have a game in hand over both of their nearest rivals.
However, Zola does not think Malky Mackay's side have the title and automatic promotion all wrapped up yet following their recent dip in form which saw them win only one game during March.
"Cardiff are top and it won't be easy playing them, but we don't fear anybody," Zola told walesonline.co.uk.
"We won a six-pointer at Hull and now we have to beat the Championship leaders. The promotion chase will go to the wire, no team has secured that prize yet.
"It would be fantastic to achieve promotion with these guys. I am proud to be Watford manager and it would mean so much to everybody at the club and in the town if we go up.
"In fact, we have had more problems with the smaller teams than the big ones this season.
"Our dressing room was an amazing place to be after our win at Hull.
"Everybody was excited, but now we are focused on facing Cardiff."
Frazier Campbell is an injury concern for Mackay after he was substituted during the 3-0 win over Blackburn on Easter Monday.
The 25-year-old striker has scored six goals in 11 games for the Bluebirds since joining them from Sunderland in January.
At the other end of the table, relegation-threatened Huddersfield and Peterborough face each other at the John Smith's Stadium.
Both sides are currently in the bottom three although Peterborough are the team in better form, as they are unbeaten in their last seven games and defeated Cardiff at the end of last month.
In contrast, the Terriers have lost four of their last six games, but midfielder Oliver Norwood says his side are ready to dust themselves off for their next battle.
"Of course we all study the table and look at the fixtures which are coming up for all the sides who are in the mix, and there are a lot of them," Norwood told the Huddersfield Daily Examiner.
"But there are only six matches we can have an influence on, and if we do the job in those, we know we'll be okay.
"It's a cliche, but it's true - we have six games left and because of who they are against, they are all pretty much six-pointers.
"It all starts at home to Peterborough on Saturday, a game we know we must win, and while we're all hurting, we'll be ready to go again."
In the other games, bottom side Bristol City travel to Burnley seven points adrift of safety while promotion-hunting Crystal Palace host struggling Barnsley, Nottingham Forest play Blackpool and sixth-placed Brighton face Leicester, who are just outside the play-off places.
Elsewhere, Sheffield Wednesday and Blackburn will look to boost themselves away from the bottom with what would be a vital win for both sides while Hull take on Middlesbrough, Birmingham play Millwall, Derby host Ipswich and Leeds travel to Charlton in their first game without Neil Warnock at the helm.
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