First Team 2 weeks ago

Team News: Bournemouth

By Kevin Affleck

Nigel Pearson confirmed Danny Welbeck is back in training and that Nathaniel Chalobah has recovered from the knock that forced him off against Tranmere in the FA Cup.

Welbeck has been out of action with a hamstring injury since the middle of October, but he has been back out on the grass following an individual programme for a few weeks and resumed training with the main group on Wednesday morning, although he only did part of the session as he is being eased back in.

“Danny is back out on the grass and is making good progress,” said the Head Coach. “It's been unfortunate this season that we've had a number of injuries that have caused us problems. We've got some long-term ones we have to accept are not going to be available for a while. Tom Cleverley is still a while away. We don't want to put a time frame on it. We want him back, but back for himself. I don't want to put players at risk for the sake of [returning] a couple of weeks early. Prödl is making good progress and Janmaat is also making progress.”

On the plus side, Chalobah and Craig Cathcart are both fit and available for selection.

“They both trained today,” said Pearson. “We do have some ones with longer-term injuries, and then players we are aware have manageable injuries or issues we can get them through games and training. Having a rest [for two days after the Tranmere game] helped a number of the players for sure. Hughes we don't think will be available for this week. There are one or two with a few less serious ones and we'll assess them over the next couple of days. We'll just manage it.”

The Bournemouth game will come too soon for Kiko Femenía. The Spanish full-back, who has been a revelation over Christmas, is not a long-term problem, but is definitely out of Sunday's game with the hamstring injury he picked up against Wolverhampton. His return, along with that of England internationals Cleverley and Welbeck, will provide depth to the squad and their return date could influence any January deals.

“Hopefully we will have new signings by getting those injured players back, which is important for us,” said Pearson. “If we did no business, I still think we have got capabilities and tools to get out of the situation we are in. Time will tell. If we did business, it won't be substantial.”

The return to full fitness of Troy Deeney has been like a new signing and he has galvanised the group over Christmas. 

“He's a very likeable character and effective and we need game effective players,” said Pearson. “That's the most important thing. He's a big character at the football club and has been here quite a while now. He's somebody that I'm very pleased to have as a type of player. He brings us something different and is a focal point for the team. He can influence people, for sure. The most important thing is what he can bring us on the pitch and he's a difficult player to play against.”

The Hornets will also be without Christian Kabasele for the clash on the south coast, as the defender is serving the final game of his two-match ban for a red card picked up against Wolverhampton Wanderers. Roberto Pereyra will be available, as his red card received against Tranmere Rovers was overturned.

First Team 2 weeks ago

Doucouré: “It’s One Of The Biggest Games This Season”

Abdoulaye Doucouré says there’s little point trying to downplay the significance of Watford’s trip to Bournemouth this Sunday (January 12, 2pm KO).

The Hornets travel to a Cherries side who sit just one place and one point above the Hornets in the Premier League table, knowing the combination of three points and other results going their way could lift them outside the bottom three for the first time this season.

Having seen off both Aston Villa and Norwich in the last couple of months, Doucouré sees it as another opportunity to get one over a direct competitor in the top-flight standings. 

“It’s one of the biggest games we have in the season. We will have a lot of finals coming up but this one is very important. We can move out of the relegation position so it will be a big day for us,” he told watfordfc.com.

“Bournemouth have dropped a bit but they are still a dangerous team, a good team, so it will be 50-50 and it will probably come down to which team wants to win the most.

“We have no excuses, we have good form and good players, so we need to beat them.”

Seven of the nine meetings between these two sides since they were both promoted in 2015 have ended in draws, and Doucouré believes another tight contest awaits on the south coast.

“Bournemouth are a very similar team to us. When I first came here I saw straight away that they are usually between 10th and 15th place,” he said.

“They are a very good team, they were flying at the beginning of the season and now they have dropped but it will be a very tough game for us.

“We need to go there with confidence to show everyone now that we are here.”

It’ll be another sell-out away end at the Vitality Stadium and the French midfielder believes the support of the travelling Watford fans can make all the difference.

“Their support will be massive. We see in all the games that they are supporting us, even when we are not playing so well they are behind us and they always travel, so on Sunday their support will be massive,” he said.

“I think they are happy with the mood we have created now around the team and I’m sure they will be even more noisy this Sunday.”