Watford have already identified the next manager who they are wanting to takeover from Vladimir Ivić with the Hornets having confirmed, with the club having already held talks with Dinamo Tbilisi head coach Xisco.
Ivic only arrived in the summer and was tasked with helping to guide the Hornets back to the Premier League at the first time of asking this term. However, despite suffering just three defeats in their opening 19 Championship matches, a defeat at Huddersfield Town on Saturday saw the club’s hierarchy part company with him.
The Watford manager’s cause was helped by the admission after the game against Huddersfield that Troy Deeney was not used form the bench due to a disciplinary issue. That left the Hornets short of options to come on and change the game, and Ivic’s side as a result fell to a 2-0 loss that left him looking likely to leave the club.
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It is now being reported by the Daily Mail that Watford’s players were expecting Ivic to be dismissed from his job. While it was also reported that the Hornets have already identified the manager and have held talks with Xisco over potentially taking over at Vicarage Road.
Xisco is currently in his first managerial role with Dinamo Tbilisi where he has guided the club to the Georgian Premier League title, following spells as assistant manager at the Georgian club and also at Spanish side Gimnàstic. The Spaniard spent most of his playing career in La Liga winning the league and UEFA Cup with Valencia before enjoying success playing for Tbilisi.
It seems remarkable that a club in fifth place in the table would change managers at this stage in the campaign. However, Watford are known for making managerial changes and there have been signs in terms of the Deeney incident that things were not alright behind the scenes with the Hornets’ dressing room.
Making such a bold change at this stage is still a huge call and they would need to be very confident that the manager coming in is the right candidate to take them to promotion. It seems that candidate has already been identified and it will be interesting to whether Xisco would be able to adapt to the Championship were he to be offered the job.
Many Watford fans would have been hoping for someone to come in with Championship experience, but that is not really the typical route that the owners of the club usually go down. Sacking Ivic and replacing him with Xisco would be a major gamble and it is one the Hornets need to pay off if they are to gain promotion back to the Premier League.