Cautious Malky takes Watford into third place


Malky Mackay was still looking down rather than up despite steering Watford into third place in the Championship.

A 2-1 home win over Roy Keane’s Ipswich Town edged Watford into third place with former St Mirren midfielder Stephen McGinn opening the scoring.

With a 46 match schedule the Championship is the most demanding division in football with more than half of the 24 clubs having realistic promotion hopes.

Despite having 21 points from 12 matches the former Celtic and Norwich centre-half won’t change his focus away from avoiding the drop after starting the season as relegation favourites.

“Everyone looks to target 52 points and see where you can get beyond that so we are not looking too far ahead,” claimed the Watford boss.

“Teams can have injuries and suspensions, there are so many variables and it is a really tough league.

“Most seasons you can get in the play-offs or get relegated with two weeks to go in this division and I wouldn’t write off either happening again this year.

“We’ve not closed out games well this year, conceded late goals, so that was pleasing.”

Ipswich were without the injured Darren O’Dea with Keane disappointed that his side were unable to convert their chances.

He said: “It’s about taking chances- our final ball could be better but that is the hardest part of football. We got into good positions but took an extra touch and it is that extra piece of quality which we lack.

“Ultimately we’ve lost the game. You can talk about systems until the cows come home but it’s irrelevant. We are struggling to score goals, it’s a sticky patch but we will keep our heads down.”

Elsewhere in the division Paul Lambert’s Norwich suffered a surprise 2-1 defeat at home to Crystal Palace while Middlesborough began life post Gordon Strachan with a 1-0 defeat at Nottingham Forrest.

Gordon Strachan’s final Boro interview

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