Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Watford Land Blow on Rocky Road to Survival

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Watford Land Blow on Rocky Road to Survival

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID SMITH

WATFORD manager Aidy Boothroyd persuaded a local cinema to open specially so that his team could watch the latest Rocky film.

And the private screening before last night's match seemed to inspire Boothroyd's fighters as they showed all their battling qualities to beat Blackburn last night and claim only their second Premiership win of the season.

Jay DeMerit, who delivered the knockout punch to Mark Hughes's side with a second-half header, believes a Rockystyle comeback could yet save Watford.

"It's definitely not too late for us," he said. "We knew we had to get three points against Blackburn. We achieved that and we've still got a game in hand on most of the teams above us.

"If we use our spirit and work ethic to put pressure on those other teams, you never know what might happen."

Should Watford stay up then this victory may come to be considered as even more valuable than the [pounds sterling]9.65million they will receive from the transfer of England Under-21 forward Ashley Young to Aston Villa, a move that was confirmed just before kick-off.

Young was among the crowd of 13,760 - the lowest league gate at Vicarage Road this season - which saw Watford climb to within four points of Charlton and five of West Ham, who have both played one game more.

Boothroyd was sufficiently upbeat to suggest a Young-less Watford might now be going places. "Ashley's clearly been holding us back," he suggested. "I should have got rid of him a long time ago."

In a more serious vein, he went on: "We wish Ashley well, he's done well to get where he has in such a short space of time. But we're not a one-man team, we never have been."

Boothroyd's task is to strengthen that team before the transfer window closes next week.

"I'd rather have kept Ashley but he's gone," he said. …

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