Quique Sanchez Flores will not make wholesale changes to the side for the FA Cup tie with Newcastle United but the fact the Hornets have an important Premier League match at Southampton on Wednesday will be factored into his thinking.
The head coach will pin the squad on a wall in the changing room at the UCL training ground in London Colney tomorrow after the final session of the week, and Valon Behrami, Adlène Guedioura, Ikechi Anya, Jose Holebas and Sebastian Prödl are almost certain to start the match against Steve McClaren’s men. Heurelho Gomes complained of tiredness after the defeat to Manchester City so Giedrius Arlauskis could get his second competitive start of the season.
However, a place on the bench appears to be the best Obbi Oulare and and Steven Berghuis can hope for.
“Berghuis and Oulare are different,” said the head coach this morning. “They are young, they are part of the Watford project. I’m not in hurry with these players.”
Berghuis, 24, and Oulare, 19, would not be human if they are not frustrated by the lack of action – Oulare has not played a competitive game since the end of August while Berghuis has not featured since the defeat to Arsenal – but Sanchez Flores clearly wants to use the game against the Magpies to get minutes in the legs of players he is likely to call on much sooner.
“I don’t think we will change seven, eight players,” he said. “Maybe four or five players are coming [into the team]. They’ve been training four or five months and know perfectly how they will play. There are other players who deserve to play, who will play. We need to recognise the personality of our team. We need to mix. We will try to push and win the match.”
There is more than an outside chance of Jose Manuel Jurado starting in his favoured position of No 10, just behind Troy Deeney or Odion Ighalo,
“It is possible,” said the head coach. “We never play with a second striker since the beginning, at Everton. We change and move the position of Deeney so he plays in the back of Ighalo but Deeney is normally one of two strikers.”