Bournemouth-Watford Preview

Advancing to the FA Cup quarterfinals in their first season after promotion shows how far Watford have come in such a short time.

Yet the Hornets still have some work left to avoid being a one-season wonder, and that task continues Saturday at Vicarage Road against Bournemouth.

The respite from the toils of the Premier League had Watford hosting Championship side Leeds United, whom they defeated twice in 2014-15 en route to reaching the top flight. Though last Saturday's lone goal came via a cross from Ben Watson that Leeds defender Scott Wooton turned into his own net, the lack of finishing was the only dull edge to a Hornets side who have yet to concede in three tournament matches en route to their round of eight clash at either Arsenal or Hull City next month.

"Leeds were very strong, very organised in defence, but I think we deserved this victory because we were creating danger a lot more in the second half," Watford coach Quique Sanchez Flores told his team's official website. "It was perfect; a win and a clean sheet.

"And no replay of course."

That last part is vital as the Golden Boys try to cement their place in the Premier League in 2016-17, one that comes with an estimated £100 million windfall as part of the new television deal that kicks in next season. Though 40 points - always the target a manager sets as a guarantee of top-flight survival - are tantalisingly close, Flores is not pegging this as a must-win contest to draw closer to that goal ahead of a difficult three-match gauntlet with road contests at Manchester United and West Ham United bookending a home clash with front-running Leicester City.

"We know perfectly that we are close and we are in a good position to enjoy the Premier League experience," Flores said. "We are not in a hurry, but of course we want to get the objective, not so that we can relax but the opposite, with the idea to improve.

"Sometimes when the objective is close players can feel under pressure and I don't want them to feel like that any time."

Bournemouth (7-7-12) have failed to better their cause with 10 points from their last nine matches (2-3-4) and are in jeopardy of being drawn into the relegation scrap. The Cherries have dropped three matches on the bounce in all competitions and failed to join Watford in the FA Cup quarterfinals after being outclassed 2-0 by Everton at home last Saturday.

"We've got some key games coming up, but I don't see the FA Cup as a distraction so it's disappointing for the club to go out," said captain Tommy Elphick, who hasn't seen action in league play since September after undergoing ankle surgery. "A lot of players gave some good performances to give the manager something to think about for the league.

"I think that's put me on the spot for the coming games so hopefully the gaffer will start considering me for the league now."

If there's a consolation for the Cherries, it has been their recent road form. They've taken 12 points from their last seven league road matches (3-3-1), with the lone defeat a 2-0 setback at Arsenal on Dec. 28.

Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes was the reason the Hornets left Dean Court with a point after a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture in October, parrying a weak penalty attempt by Glenn Murray - who had netted Bournemouth's first in the opening half - in the 85th minute shortly after a stunning fingertip save to knock away Steve Cook's overhead effort.

Odion Ighalo scored Watford's goal right before halftime after a ghastly giveaway by Cherries keeper Artur Boruc. The Nigeria international has scored eight of his 14 league goals at Vicarage Road, and midfielder Troy Deeney has assisted on four of those eight.

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