First Team 06/04/2019

Gracia: “My Sons Are Singing The Songs”

By Kevin Affleck

Javi Gracia said his children are gripped by FA Cup fever and that they are fine-tuning the lyrics to the songs so they can join in the carnival atmosphere at Wembley on Sunday

Gracia is father to Jon (13) and ten-year-old twins Inigo and Mikel and they will at the home of English football on Sunday, along with Gracia’s wife Mariola, cheering on the team coached by the darling of Vicarage Road.

“My sons are singing a lot of songs of all the different players,” said Gracia. “In this moment they enjoy it but, to be honest, they all enjoy the Premier League and don’t realise how important games are or not. This is good for me that they are enjoying it with the team. I try to keep my family out of this life because sometimes when you are in problems and in bad moments, I don’t want them to suffer. I prefer them to be out of it but, at the moment, things are good and I want them to enjoy it with the team.”

Gracia is still trying to twist the arm of his mother and get her to come to the game with Wolves. He paid a lovely tribute to her in a video message put out by the club on Mother’s Day. 

“Maybe my mother comes,” he said. “If we reach the final then I will definitely try to speak with her and get her to come. Sadly my father died nine years ago.”

Javi’s father would be extremely proud of how his son has turned out and what a job he is doing at this club. The Hornets have eclipsed their best ever points tally in the Premier League, are gunning for seventh spot and could reach the FA Cup final for only the second time in their history.

“It is a special season,” said Gracia. “We worked really hard in pre-season, and now we have the possibility to enjoy it with our supporters at Wembley in one special game. We have 26 players and they are all helping the team.

“We'll see how it finishes, but, right now, we have to keep our ambition. This is the moment we have to make the next step forward and to be able to keep our level, to keep ambition, to keep all the good things we have done before. Now is the moment to show it. 

“We have achieved something special with 46 points, but I don't like to look back. I want to live in the present and finish as best as possible.”

Important information for supporters travelling to Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

Ladies 05/04/2019

Ladies: Baranowska Gets International Call-Up

Watford FC Ladies goalkeeper Weronika Baranowska is currently on international duties with Poland Under-19 squad, for the Women’s Under-19 Euro Qualifiers.

Baranowska earned the call up for the squad after being with Poland when they had three friendlies in February and March, with games against Hungary (February 27), Kosovo (March 3) and the Czech Republic (March 5).

Golden Girls number 1 has now had three call ups with Poland Under-19 and is settling in well with the team.

“Some of the girls I was very familiar with from my call ups for the Under-17,” Baranowska told “The atmosphere is great. We all get on easily and we are all very close. It helps a lot on the pitch especially with communication.”

“The tournament in Turkey went a lot better than expected and prepped us well for these qualifiers. We as a team came out victorious winning it all after a hard-fought game with the Czech Republic. Personally, for me it was a successful one too, coming out with the best goalkeeper of the tournament award. I gave it my all and I was rewarded with this call up to the European qualifiers.” 

Not only has Baranowska been awarded a start in all games, she was handed the number one spot in the squad.

“Being picked to go to a tournament like this is a privilege,” said Baranowksa. “On top of it to be handed the no.1 jersey and starting in important games is an incredible feeling. The hard work is finally being rewarded.”

Poland’s first game came out as a disappointing loss against a strong Finland side with just one goal separating the teams.

“We fought really hard. It was a good game of football,” said the shot-stopper. “We lost an unfortunate goal in the 79th minute. We’ve worked on fixing the mistakes we made during the game and are fully ready for the next game in-front of us.”

Focus for the Under-19 Poland side now turns to their next fixture which comes around tomorrow, against Switzerland.

“Switzerland are a very good team,” said Baranowska. “As a team we know that if we play our game and play equally as good as we did on Wednesday against an equally strong opponent we can come out on top. We’ve done all the preparation we could have.”

Weronika has been Watford’s number 1 this season and has impressed the coaches, players and fans with some spectacular performances and in particularly against one of England’s best women’s football team, Manchester City.

“The support from the team [Watford FC Ladies] is amazing. From coaches to players messaging me saying good luck before games. As well as that Illi [goalkeeper coach] is a massive help during training with Watford. He knows what he’s on about and has a lot of experience in the game.”

Good luck to Weronika and the rest of WU19 Poland squad in their game tomorrow!

Switzerland Under-19 W v Poland Under-19
6pm KO (UK TIME)
Belgian National Football Centre