Pictures by Paul Dawson

Jurado struggling to make Bournemouth visit as left-back dilemma looms once more

Jose Manuel Jurado has all but been ruled out of this week’s game against Bournemouth after his head coach revealed he still needs more time to recover from his injury.

Jurado missed the last league game against Crystal Palace and the FA Cup tie against Leeds United with a calf problem and has not trained this week after the players returned from two days off. The playmaker, 29, may have joined in with the main group today or be out on the pitches tomorrow but Watford have such depth to their squad and are in such a healthy league position that the head coach does not need to take a chance with a player less than 100 per cent fit.

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“No, he’s not recovering well, it’s not enough,” said the head coach. “He’s not recovering quickly enough so we have to wait a little bit more. He has a problem in the calf and the calf is a very sensitive area.”

Joel Ekstrand, who was named in the revised Premier League squad, has returned to training after his hamstring trouble but Tommie Hoban is back in the treatment room. Obbi Oulare has also been suffering from a knee problem.

“Ekstrand is back training with us and recuperating from a serious injury,” said the head coach. “He’s a very good player, we support Ekstrand.”

Picture by Sean Hinks
Picture by Sean Hinks

Sanchez Flores admits he is having a tough job selecting the matchday 18, let alone picking the first XI. He left a fully-fit Nathan Ake out of the squad completely against Leeds.

“I try to transmit to the players that if someone is out of the list, it is not because they are in bad condition,” he said. “If a player is in bad condition then I take this player and I tell him he’s in a bad condition.”

The head coach once again has the dilemma over who to pick at left-back against Bournemouth. Jose Holebas was named the official man of the match against Leeds United and was selected in several media outlet’s team of the week. The rejuvenated Greece international was harshly left out against Tottenham Hotspur despite a fine display against Chelsea.

Picture by Paul Dawson
Picture by Paul Dawson

“I prefer this kind of situation,” said Sanchez Flores. “I am happy with Ake and happy with Holebas and I have confidence in Anya. This position is completely covered. It’s difficult as Ake and Holebas are at the same level. They have different qualities but are a similar level. It’s difficult to choose.”