English Premiership

Abdi backs Watford EPL promotion

2015-04-24 11:33
Almen Abdi (Supplied)

London - Switzerland midfielder Almen Abdi insists Championship leaders Watford can cope with the pressure of trying to seal promotion to the Premier League on Saturday.

With just two games remaining in the second-tier campaign, Slavisa Jokanovic's side will seal a lucrative place in the English top-flight if they win at Brighton and promotion rivals Middlesbrough and Norwich fail to take three points from their respective fixtures at Fulham and Rotherham.

The Hornets currently hold a one-point lead over second-placed Bournemouth and third-placed Middlesbrough, while Norwich, in fourth, are three points behind the table toppers.

With Watford playing at the Amex Stadium in the day's early fixture, they know a fifth successive victory could be enough to clinch a return to the Premier League after an eight-year absence, depending on the later results.

And Serbia-born Abdi, capped six times for his adopted Switzerland, is confident his team, who are the second highest scorers in the division, will be able to deal with the tension of the situation.

"We have everything in our hands but we know what the Championship is all about," former Udinese star Abdi told Watford's official website.

"It's always difficult, all the pressure is on us, and Brighton have a better team than the table says. But with the quality in the team that we have I think we can do it.

"Pressure is a part of football. I'm used to having pressure throughout my career and everyone else is as well, so that is not a problem."

If Middlesbrough and Norwich lose, then Bournemouth could effectively seal promotion alongside Watford if they beat Bolton at home on Monday.

That would leave Eddie Howe's side three points ahead of Middlesbrough with a vastly superior goal difference.

The Cherries were just minutes from going out of business seven years ago but, funded by Russian benefactor Maxim Demin, they are now on the verge of a first ever season in the top-flight.

"Our journey from administration to where our fantastic football team have taken us now is a fantasy," chairman Jeff Mostyn said.

"We would be the smallest club to ever play in the Premier League. Hans Christian Andersen couldn't have written a fairytale story that has covered such an incredible journey over such a short period of time."

Elsewhere on Saturday, Derby can secure a place in the play-offs with a win at Millwall, who will be relegated to League One if they lose.

Just two years after winning the FA Cup, Wigan will also crash into the third tier if they fail to beat Wolves.


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