Spanish coach Xisco favourite for Watford job ahead of Canaries clash

File photo dated 19-12-2020 of Watford manager Vladimir Ivic during the Sky Bet Championship match a

Watford have parted company with manager Vladimir Ivic ahead of their Boxing Day clash with Norwich - Credit: PA

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 clash 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.

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

That left Watford fifth, nine points adrift of Norwich and four behind second-placed Bournemouth, the two teams they came down from the Premier League alongside - with the former Maccabi Tel Aviv boss brought in after Nigel Pearson was unable to prevent five consecutive years in the top flight coming to an end for the Hertfordshire club.

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.

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."

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Speculation had 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 joining the Hornets' coaching staff but now bookmakers have installed Munoz as favourite, with Sky Bet offering odds of 1/3 and Bet Victor of 6/4.

Other options being suggested by the bookies include Slaven Bilic following his West Brom exit, with Sky Bet offering (6/1), former Wigan boss Paul Cook (8/1) and ex-Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe (10/1).

All of which will leave Norwich fans to keep an eye on who their team's Boxing Day opponents appoint, wary of the potential 'new manager bounce' as their promotion rivals line up a sixth managerial appointment inside five years.

In comparison, 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.

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