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Watford-Hull City Preview
There's no place like home for Hull City.
Marco Silva's side has been a revelation at the KCom Stadium since the Portuguese coach's arrival in early January, picking up 16 points from a possible 18 to give the club a terrific chance of staying in the Premier League.
Win at home Saturday against Watford and 17th-placed Hull (8-6-19) will be up to 33 points with four games remaining, closing in on the sort of points tally that tends to ensure survival in the top-flight.
Hull are 7-4-5 at home, where they will try for a fourth consecutive victory.
Back-to-back defeats on the road may have stalled Hull's charge towards safety, but the foundations of the campaign are built almost exclusively on the club's home record, and captain Michael Dawson can't wait to get back on his own patch this weekend.
"It's possible to stay up if we win our home games - that would give us another nine points," Dawson said. "We've been terrible on the road but our home form puts us in a position where it's still in our hands and we've got massive belief."
Hull go into the latest matchday with chasing Swansea City and Middlesbrough trailing by two and six points, respectively - though Boro have a game in hand. Yet Silva has urged his players to ignore what those other clubs do during the run-in.
"I like to focus on our games and after that we will look at other teams," he said.
"We just need to do our work. If it's Swansea or Middlesbrough, we have to do our work."
Watford's win over Swansea last weekend took the Hornets (11-7-14) up to 40 points and 10th in the table to end any fears of being sucked into an unlikely relegation scrap.
And Walter Mazzarri's side can now turn the attention towards solidifying their mid-table status, with a top-half finish still very much a possibility.
"Even though we have 40 points we shouldn't be easy going," defender Sebastian Prödl said. "We have a big chance now - we are top 10 at the moment and it would be great to finish in the top 10. This is a new target for the team.
"I think the second season is always a difficult one, but we've secured Premier League status more or less now and we should move forward. Now it's up to us, and if we can finish in the top 10 it will be brilliant."
Watford's push for that top-half finish will be hampered by the likely absence of a number of players through injury. Craig Cathcart, Younes Kaboul, Mauro Zarate, Ben Watson and Roberto Pereyra are all expected to miss Saturday's game.
Hull have David Meyler, Will Keane, Ryan Mason and Moses Odubajo absent through injury.
A Michael Dawson own-goal was the difference between these teams when they met in October, with Watford winning the clubs' first ever Premier League fixture 1-0.
Updated April 20, 2017