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Clear favourite named to become next Watford manager

A clear favourite has been named to become the next Watford manager as Sky Bet reveal the odds market following Vladimir Ivic’s departure.

Ivic won the Championship Manager of the Month award for November – ahead of Norwich boss Daniel Farke – and won his first game after that award success, 1-0 at Birmingham thanks to a late penalty from Troy Deeney.

His side were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Brentford in midweek then slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Huddersfield on Saturday, with Ivic leaving Deeney on the bench for unexplained disciplinary reasons.

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That left Watford fifth in the Championship table, nine points behind Norwich and four behind second-placed Bournemouth, the two teams they were came down from the Premier League alongside – with the ex-Maccabi Tel Aviv boss brought in as Nigel Pearson was axed before the final game of the season.

Former Valencia and Real Betis winger Xisco Munoz is leading the bookies’ odds to become the new Watford manager, with the Hornets dismissing Vladimir Ivic ahead of their Boxing Day fixture with Norwich City.

Ivic was named Championship Manager of the Month for November – ahead of Canaries boss Daniel Farke – and won his first game after that award success, 1-0 at Birmingham thanks to a late Troy Deeney penalty.

Draws were the problem for Ivic, only losing four of his league games in charge but winning nine and drawing seven, to take 34 points from a possible 60.

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A club statement on Saturday evening said: “Watford FC confirms the departure of head coach Vladimir Ivic with immediate effect. Ivic’s coaching staff will also be leaving Vicarage Road.

“The Hornets thank Ivic and his staff for their efforts this season and wish them well for future success elsewhere. No further comment is available from the club.”

Speculation has emerged in Georgia earlier in the week that Munoz was heading for Watford after standing down as head coach of Dinamo Tbilisi, following their title win earlier this month.

It had initially been unclear if that would mean the 40-year-old was to sign a deal to be part of the Hornets’ coaching staff but now bookmakers have installed Munoz as favourite, with Sky Bet offering odds of 1/20 and Bet Victor of 6/4.

Full name Francisco Javier Muñoz Llompart, known as Xisco, is a Spanish former professional footballer who played mainly as a left winger.

He amassed La Liga totals of 194 matches and 20 goals over nine seasons, mainly in representation of Betis (four years). He also appeared in the competition for Valencia, Tenerife, Recreativo and Levante, winning the 2004 UEFA Cup with the first club.

Starting in 2011, Xisco spent four years in Georgia with Dinamo Tbilisi and won the Georgian Premier League in a shortened 2020 season, taking 40 points from 18 games played, his side scored 33 and conceded just 9.

Other options being suggested by the bookies include Slaven Bilic following his West Brom exit, with Sky Bet offering (14/1), former Wigan boss Paul Cook (16/1) and ex-Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe (20/1).

Watford’s next opponents the Canaries are flying high at the top of the Championship during Farke’s fourth season in charge, making the German the current 14th longest-serving manager in the EFL.

The Canaries head for Vicarage Road on Boxing Day, for a 7:45pm kick-off which is being shown live by Sky Sports.

Fans reacted as the clear favourite is named to become next Watford manager…

@ro55co316: Every time we go into lockdown Watford sack a manager #tier4lockdown #tier4 #football

@RayBennison1: Have Watford signed more managers than players in the last few years. @WatfordFC

@watfordfocus: In times gone by, I’d have been replying to all the critical replies to and Watford-related tweets regarding our manager. I don’t have that kind of energy these days, and unfortunately I can’t even disagree with their comments, either. #WatfordFC

@WatfordBloke: #watfordfc Pozzo has such a shit reputation in this country now no manager worth his salt will come to Watford!

@andywyatt61: Here we go again, never heard of him!

@JackNor75277016: Fuck sake.

@blake_wfc: All I want is Bilic

@WFCSean: At what point do we say the Pozzos have given up on us?

@GregWKirk: What will end first – his reign to lockdown in tier 4……

@sjjarrettHR: Who is he? What has he achieved ? Does he understand English football and more importantly the championship?

@Thirdand4ever: No, but he’s out of contract and cheap….#pozzoway

@sophieeemc: If this is true I’m giving up

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