Heurelho Gomes should be fit to face Norwich City on Saturday after being given the all-clear by the club doctor.
Gomes was carried off on a stretcher on 67 minutes after a heavy blow to the top left of his head following a challenge with Craig Cathcart. Premier League rules state any player suffering a head injury must leave the pitch.
Following a rule change last season, team managers or coaching staff can no longer decide if a player is fit to continue. The final decision rests with the club doctor who, in Watford’s case today, was Ian Hamilton. Hamilton, who shares the role with Ritan Mehta, was the doctor at Clarence Park when Rene Gilmartin dislocated his knee cap. Together with head of medical Richard Collinge, Hamilton quickly decided Gomes was in no state to carry on.
Gomes was taken to a local hospital and after a neurological assessment, the goalkeeper was allowed to travel home by coach with the rest of the team.
“He’s got a nice big lump, I’ve heard,” said Troy Deeney. “Craig’s tried to clear the ball, H [Heurelho] has just tried to save it. I think the most important thing is that they didn’t score from it. H will be sore for a few days.”
Gomes provided fans with an update on his condition via social media.
Gomes was fit and coherent enough to pose with two young fans at a service station on the way home.
The news Gomes has nothing more than a big lump on his head will come as a relief as Giedrius Arlauskis looked far from convincing on his Premier League bow.
It raised the likelihood of Watford dipping into the transfer market in January to increase their goalkeeping options. Following the injury to Gilmartin, any problem with Arlauskis would have left teenager Nathan Gartside as the next cab off the rank. Former Newcastle keeper Steve Harper is a free agent and home-grown.
However shaky Arlauskis looked it was nothing compared to the performance of another Watford goalkeeper at Villa Park 28 years ago. After injuries to Tony Coton and Steve Sherwood, Gary Plumley was plucked out of retirement, summoned from a bar he owned in South Wales, and stationed in goal against Tottenham’s Clive Allen, Glenn Hoddle and Ossie Ardiles for an FA Cup semi-final in 1987. Watford were three down after 35 minutes, eventually losing 4-1.