DAVE HUGHES thinks it’s imperative his young Hornets keep their focus after inclement weather has ravaged their fixture list at the beginning of 2013, and says the coaching staff had to improvise their methods in keeping the players motivated through a difficult period.
Speaking to watfordfc.com between sessions at Watford’s UCL training ground, the former Shrewsbury Academy coach says his scholars can’t be faulted for their attitude as they approach a fixture with Northampton at the weekend.
“The training has been as disrupted as the games,” he said.
“The weather has been horrific, going from frost to snow, to heavy rain. The impact that has on the pitches is huge. But the lads have been first-class. They’ve been excellent, I’ve got nothing short of really positive words to say about them.
“One bonus is we’ve used the time to significantly work on the physical development, and psychologically we’ve tried to make sure the focus is right for the remaining part of the season.
“It’s been disruptive, but it’s about being inventive and trying to be flexible to keep the boys fresh.”
With the seasonal difficulties of January seemingly over, Hughes is keen to look forward to the remainder of the season, and thinks the scholars still have a lot to play for before the season comes to an end.
“We spoke in the week about what we want to do for the rest of the season with the games we have remaining. The key is obviously the performances being at the level we require. Ultimately that will decide whether they achieve anything as a group or not.
“The overall goal is to get players over the line with contracts. But as a group, they’ll have a look at where they are in the league, and the [Youth Alliance] Cup. It’s important to have a target and a goal, and work to achieve that, but what is vital is how they achieve it.
“If we’re going to be successful in anything, we’re going to do it our way.”
With the squad fully rested and batteries recharged, Hughes has challenged his players to fight to the last, and make sure there are no regrets come the end of the campaign.
“The challenge we laid down to them last week was: can we make sure in eight or 12 weeks' time, that we’re sat together saying really positive things, about how the performances have been first-class, the attitude has been first-class? That comes from positive discipline and hard work on the training pitch.”