First Team 17/01/2019

Team News: Burnley

Watch Javi Gracia's pre-match press conference above, or read on below for more a more in-depth preview.


By Kevin Affleck

Javi Gracia is resigned to being without Will Hughes this weekend, but is ready to integrate the fit-again Andre Gray and Christian Kabasele back into the matchday squad.

Hughes came off early at Selhurst Park with concussion and he has not trained so far this week in preparation for the visit of Burnley.

“We'll see what happens with Will because after the last game, he is not training,” said Gracia. “We need to wait and see his evolution, but it's difficult in this moment. He is not training in this moment, but maybe we will see with a good evolution in the next days. But playing in two days’ time, I am not optimistic.”

Definitely missing on Saturday is Sebastian Prödl who is still out with a knee problem and, according to Gracia, “is in the recovery process.”

But, on the plus side, Gray and Kabasele are pushing for a place on the bench after they got a full week's training under their belt. Both trained last week, but Gracia did not feel they were quite ready for the trip to Crystal Palace.

“They have both trained very well all this week and they are ready,” declared Gracia.

If Hughes, as seems likely, misses out, it will present a space in the 17-man squad to face Burnley for the likes of Gray, Adalberto Peñaranda, Nathaniel Chalobah and Ben Wilmot.

“If Will is not available there will be more chances for other players.” said Gracia. “In the last game it was Ken Sema who came on, but there are other alternatives to choose and all of them I have confidence in.”

When it comes to who replaces Hughes in the XI, Gracia will have to choose between Sema and Tom Cleverley, Saturday's match-winner.

“I am happy with Tom's behaviour because in all the time he has played, he has helped a lot with the team,” said Gracia. “I think he needs to time to improve and try to recover his level. At this moment, he is helping us a lot.”

Under-23's 17/01/2019

Under-23: Pereira Completes MLS Move

The Hornets can now confirm that Under-23 winger Dion Pereira has today completed a permanent transfer to Atlanta United.

Pereira will join the 2018 MLS champions subject to international clearance.

A product nurtured by Watford's Academy, the 19-year-old first joined the Hornets at Under-9 level and has been a regular in the club's Under-23 side in recent seasons.

He made his first-team debut in 2017, making two appearances and winning the club's 2016/17 Young Player of the Season award.