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Toe Poke
By ESPN Staff

Boothroyd expecting tough test at Eastlands

Watford manager Adrian Boothroyd believes his team are playing Manchester City at the worst possible time.

The Hornets prepare for tonight's clash against Stuart Pearce's side still looking for their first away win of the season - and City have yet to taste defeat in front of their own fans.

Boothroyd's men are 19th in the Premiership and face a long struggle against relegation - and the 35-year-old boss admitted his side face a tough time against City, who won 3-1 at Aston Villa in their last match.

'This will be a very difficult game, because it looks as though City are coming into form at the wrong time for us,' he said. 'They have a nice blend of experience, of power and pace, and there is some creativity in there as well.

'In Micah Richards, they have a player who is young, powerful, quick, and with an awful lot of potential.

'And Stuart Pearce is someone I admire. Not only was he a great player, but he made sure he did his coaching badges to improve himself.'

Boothroyd's team have won only one league match this season - a 2-0 win over Middlesbrough at Vicarage Road last month.

The Hornets have lost their last three matches, and are without goalkeeper Ben Foster and forward Marlon King for the trip north.

Boothroyd welcomes back forward Ashley Young and winger Hameur Bouazza for the match, and insists his spirits remain high despite three consecutive defeats, including a damaging 1-0 home reverse against Sheffield United in their last fixture.

Boothroyd continued: 'I do not get low. I get angry, but not low. These are games of football. They count, and they are important, but you have to be able to let go.

'If you can't do that, the emotion stops you thinking straight, and when you are in our position, you need to be able to think straight.

'Moping around does not help anyone, and I tend to bounce back quite quickly, because I think it is important.

'The great thing about this bad run is that it is testing me, and it is testing the players. Testing times should make us better, and that is what I am holding onto.'