TO come through a stern examination of their promotion credentials will stand Watford in good stead, Lloyd Doyley told watfordfc.com after full-time at Vicarage Road.
He argued that visitors Bolton had much the best of the opening exchanges, but feels the Hornets' come-back lays down a marker for the campaign ahead.
"Teams know we want to play our way out from the back and Bolton aren't the first side to come here and press us really hard and high - but I thought they did it better than some sides and put us under pressure from the start," said the limpet-like defender, who gradually sucked the life out of Chris Eagles' performance to the point where the ex-Watford youth got subbed off.
"It took us a while to get going today; I thought we were a little bit sluggish to start with," argued the 30-year-old, after clocking up Hornets' appearance number 390.
"But you've also got to give Bolton credit for the way they set their game-plan out."
One down to Marvin Sordell's penalty kick, Watford wouldn't be denied - gradually grinding their way back into the match.
"We had a bit of resilience about us today I thought. It was a tough one and we came through it.
"It's good for us to do that, because we're going to need plenty of resilience over the games left," added Doyley, who will be able to call on his experiences of promotion pushes from both of seasons 2005/06 and 2007/08.
"I thought we'd just started to get a foothold in the game when they scored, but it didn't seem to affect us, and once we got the equaliser through Matty [Vydra], I had a feeling we would go on and win it eventually."
The defender reflected that teams have come to Vicarage Road to stifle the Hornets' free-flowing football as much as attack themselves.
"Bolton probably got that balance about right at the start today, but we showed a different side to our game - that we can roll our sleeves up and work our way back into things when something goes against us.
"It helps when you've got the creative ability and finishing ability we have in our squad. As a defender, I'm confident that if I do my job as part of my defensive team, then we'll have a great chance of winning."
Doyley's last comment was reserved for the playing surface. Looking much more like Forest's or Blackpool's last campaign, Doyley believes the summer relay has been an enormous factor towards success at home.
"You think of us trying to play how we do on last year's pitch? There's no way we could have done.
"Our pitch is the best in the division now - all the lads say that. For the beginning of February, with all the weather we've had, it was immaculate so it certainly helps us.
"The lads who joined this season don't believe it really, but the other boys know what a massive help it's been."
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