FA Cup Team News: Wolverhampton Wanderers
Watch Javi Gracia's pre-match press conference above, or read on below.
By Kevin Affleck
Javi Gracia is confident Roberto Pereyra will be fit to take his place in the Watford side for the FA Cup semi-final with Wolves at Wembley on Sunday.
The Argentine schemer was taken off as a precaution at half-time against Fulham on Tuesday night and he has not trained since. However, the Head Coach has not given up hope that the 28-year-old, who scored that wondrous goal at Molineux in October, will win the race to be fit and take his place on the left-hand side of midfield.
“In this moment, we have Tom Cleverley, Isaac Success, Adalberto Peñaranda and Roberto Pereyra not training with the team,” said Gracia. “They [Pereyra and Success] will train tomorrow and we will see. They are doubts. Pereyra felt some pain but I think he can be ready for the next game. Cleverley is out and I don’t know how much time [he will need]. In the next days it is not possible for him to play.”
The 28-year-old has scored seven goals this season and been a real source of creativity, most notably at West Ham where he won the penalty and then deliciously set-up the second for Gerard Deulofeu.
“Roberto Pereyra is an important player for us,” said Gracia. “I think he will be ready for the next game. If he is not available I have other players ready, waiting for the chance to play.”
Gracia has at least three decisions to make when it comes to selection: one about who plays at right-back, secondly who partners Troy Deeney in attack, and thirdly who plays in goal. Heurelho Gomes has played in every round, conceding just one goal but Ben Foster has been in imperious form this season.
“I don’t know the worst keeper of the three,” said Gracia. “I don’t say who is going to play but, you know, it is not a problem to choose the goalkeeper because we have three good goalkeepers. All of three of the goalkeepers are playing well.”
Andre Gray is pushing hard for a start. In fact, he’s knocking on the door so loudly it’s almost coming off its hinges. He has won the last four home games after coming off the bench and got a cracker in the fourth-round cup win at Newcastle.
“He is not only a good substitute – he has showed many times this season that he can start in the first XI,” said Gracia. “I remember the first four games we won in a row and he played from the beginning. I know he is an option. We’ll decide in the next day the best XI, but I’m always asked about changes and what players I will put in the first XI. I just always try to choose the best XI and this game is no different.”