Craig Cathcart, like most Watford fans, is excited about the impact and galvanising effect Nordin Amrabat can have tomorrow on a Hornets side who have seen a dip become a trough.
Watford have picked up just one point from the last 15 available and invited accusations of thinking they had scaled the Premier League mountain when beating Liverpool only to spend too long admiring the view. The club’s key decision makers stepped up their recruitment push in the last ten days in a bid to invigorate this tiring side and broke the club record transfer fee for the second time in six months, marginally eclipsing the £6m they paid in the summer for Etienne Capoue by recruiting Amrabat from Malaga. He is guaranteed to be in the squad for the game against Newcastle United tomorrow.
“January is an important spell and you want the players who come in January to hit the ground running and make an impact, so hopefully the one or two or maybe three we get in can make an impact straight away and benefit the team and the squad,” said Cathcart. “I don’t read the news about transfers, I just focus on my job and doing well for Watford. Once the players have signed and they come in to training we make them feel welcome and make them feel part of the squad.”
The game against the Magpies, on a newly-relaid pitch at Vicarage Road, has all of a sudden assumed added importance. Watford were seventh with 28 points after they beat Liverpool and 13 points clear of the third bottom team. The gap is now down to just eight.
“We take every game as important as the next, with this league you can’t look too far ahead, it’s the best in the world and when we play Newcastle we will be fully focused… and getting a game plan to try and win the game,” said Cathcart.
Watford have beaten Steve McClaren’s twice this season, 2-1 at St James’ Park in the league and then 1-0 in the FA Cup at Vicarage Road nearly a fortnight ago.
“We coped very well at Vicarage Road last time out and while we didn’t deserve to lose, we know it will be tough on Saturday,” said McClaren in an open email sent to Newcastle fans yesterday. “We start every game from zero and we know if we’re not right attitude-wise and we don’t put the work in, Watford can hurt us.”
Cathcart was hurt at being left out of the side for the mauling at Southampton, the first time he had not been named in the first XI since the win at Millwall in April.
“No one wants to be on the bench [like at Southampton], but I accepted it and moved on, back into training after the match, managed to get back in and hopefully I have done OK for the manager,” he said before discussing the recent rotation of the centre-halves. “It’s a difficult league and your legs are going to get heavy at times, it’s competition for places as well which can only be a good thing. We have a good squad at the moment, and if it pushes everyone up it is a good thing.”