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How Watford could line-up on the opening day of the Championship

Rob Edwards will kick off his reign as Watford manager with a clash against Sheffield United at Vicarage Road on Monday, 1 August.

The game against the Blades who were beaten by Nottingham Forest on penalties in last season’s play-off semi-finals will be live on Sky Sports.

Edwards won the League Two title with Forest Green Rovers last season, but he is now in the Hornets’ dugout following the departure of Roy Hodgson.

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The 39-year-old will be hoping to bring much-needed stability to the Hertfordshire-based side who will no doubt be targeting an immediate return to the Premier League.

But Edwards is likely to see several of Watford’s star names depart this summer with Ismaïla Sarr and Emmanuel Dennis seemingly Premier League bound, with Hassane Kamara who impressed following his arrival from Nice in January, potentially following the talented forwards out the exit door.

The Championship season starts in five-and-a-half weeks time and Edwards will be keen to mould the Watford squad in a style that he believes will be successful in the second-tier of English football.

With that in mind, TBR takes a look at how Watford could line-up on the opening day of the Championship.

How Watford could line-up on the opening day of the Championship

With Ben Foster and his infamous GoPro no longer at Vicarage Road and with Daniel Bachmann potentially heading for Manchester United, according to Fabrizio Romano, Nigeria goalkeeper Maduka Okoye looks set to be Edwards’ number one stopper.

Okoye was signed from Sparta Rotterdam in November before spending the rest of the season on loan at the Dutch club.

With Watford fans patiently waiting for their transfer business to ignite this summer, the focus could well be resolving the futures of players who are interested in forming a part of Edwards’ project.

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The Athletic claim that Moussa Sissoko and Juraj Kucka are likely to head for the exits too, while Josh King has a relegation clause in his contract.

The Hornets look set to lose a wealth of talented and experienced stars this summer, but that will give Edwards a fresh canvas to stamp his own imprint and philosophy from.

This season may be a slow burner and could potentially be frustrating for Hornet fans, but they’ll have to keep the faith with their new talented manager and hope that the Pozzo family don’t yield the axe on yet another manager.

A back four of Jeremy Ngakia, Franciso Sierralta, Samir and Ken Sema might not be the most glamorous quartet on paper, but familiarity might be the way to go for Edwards at the start of the season – if he hasn’t landed his desired targets.

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Moroccan international Imran Louza could take up a more prominent role following his arrival from Nantes last summer and if Edwards places his trust in youth – former Arsenal youngster Luigi Gaspar, who is set to join the Hornets, according to Romano, could be given the first team opportunities he desires.

In an attacking line-up where Edwards will be hoping to establish the free-flowing philosophy that brought him great success at Forest Green, Watford could unleash an unfamiliar front four that has the potential to be a rip-roaring success or a disaster.

Watford will be keen to retain the services of talented Brazilian Joao Pedro and with Sarr and Dennis keen to leave this summer, the 20-year-old come become Edwards’ main man.

The Hornets have been linked with a move for one-time Chile international Dario Osorio who would be somewhat of an unknown quantity.

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But with the 18-year-old already receiving a cap for his senior national side – the Club Universidad de Chile could be a gamble that pays off.

And with Brighton, whose scouting department deserve plaudits for the players they have brought to the Amex, also reportedly interested in the South American, Watford could potentially have a star on their radar.

Watford Observer are reporting that Gent striker Vakoun Bayo has agreed a deal to sign for the Hornets.

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The 25-year-old, who has been capped two times by Ivory Coast, is a Gent player but spent last season on loan at RSC Charleroi in the Belgian Jupiler League, where he scored seven times in 15 appearances.

Bayo had a brief spell at Celtic in the 2019/20 season after Brendan Rodgers signed him, but he only scored two goals from 17 appearances for the Hoops.

Bayo could be joined up front by 18-year-old striker Colombian striker Yaser Asprilla. The teenager was signed from Envigado but stayed with the club and scored five times in 16 appearances last season, as well as earning his first senior cap for Colombia.

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