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MACKAY – “WE HAVE TO MEET THE TASK IN HAND, HEAD ON”

12 December 2014

Boss is keen for his side to find big performance at Watford on Saturday.

  • Boss expects “stiff test” from the Hornets.
  • Fond memories of Watford.
  • Top goal-scorer Troy Deeney a threat.
Latics manager Malky Mackay says his side head to Vicarage Road to face Sky Bet Championship high-flyers Watford on Saturday with the mentality to win the game.

The Scot has seen his side pick up just a point from his opening three games in charge but performances have been encouraging and Latics will perhaps feel they’ve deserved more.

And Mackay is hopeful that, if his side keep the positive aspects of their performances up, points can arrive, evident from Watford’s 5-0 win at Fulham last time out after four consecutive defeats.

“We’re going to go there to win the game, undoubtedly,” Mackay explained. “We’ve got the players in the team to do that and, in two-and-a-half of the games I’ve taken charge of, I’ve been delighted; not only in the effort but also in the quality.

“We’ve just got to keep our standards up – we have to meet the task in hand, head on.

“It’s going to be a stiff test for us; in three weeks, we’ve played three of the top sides in this division in Middlesbrough, Norwich City and now Watford.

“At any point, anybody could beat anyone in this division; Fulham went down to 10 men very early on and that made it difficult but it’s hard to play against ten men and, bizarrely, it can sometimes be harder and Watford did it very well.

“They’re one of the top teams in the division in terms of the size of their squad and the quality of their squad.”

Mackay made over 50 league appearances for the Hornets as a player and later managed the Vicarage Road club on a permanent basis, after a brief caretaker spell, between 2009 and 2011.

And he says the similarities of the Hornets to Latics are already evident in his brief spell in Wigan.

“Watford are another club who played a big part in my career,” he added. “My daughter was born in the hospital next door and I spent a good number of years there as a player, a coach and a manager.

“It’s a club that I’ve got fond memories of; I see a lot of similarities with Wigan as far as the type of people they are and the care they’ve got for their club.

“I’m looking forward to going back there; they’re good people, very welcoming people and it’s a good community around the football club.

“The Pozzo family have invested there and Udinese have moved a lot of players over to Watford so it’s a big squad full of talent; they went on a little dip but they’ve generally been a very consistent team in the division over the last couple of years.”

Watford’s leading marksman is Troy Deeney who has seven Sky Bet Championship goals this season and a further 60 in all competitions since Mackay took him to Vicarage Road in 2010.

And the Scot is wary of one of the division’s most clinical and effective strikers.

“They’ve built up a strong powerbase in terms of their squad and in Troy Deeney, who I bought from Walsall, they have one of the top centre forwards in the division,” Mackay continued.

“He’s someone we’ve got to make sure we look after; he’s a terrific lad and he’s there captain now and someone that is one of their leaders at the club.

“He’s a good talent and handful in our division; a good finisher and he links up well with Matej Vydra but I know him well and we have to be cautious with him.”

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