Woking first up for Walter Mazzarri’s new-look Watford

Watford fans should get their first glimpse of new signing Abdoulaye Doucoure at Woking in July after the club announced this afternoon that the National League side will provide Walter Mazzari with his first opposition as head coach of Watford.

Those members of the squad not involved in Euro 2016, the Copa America or the Olympics have been told to report for training on July 3 when they will be put through their paces by Mazzarri’s long-time trainer Giuseppe Pondrelli, one of nine additions to the club’s backroom staff.


A week later the Hornets will play Woking followed by a game against League Two outfit Stevenage on Thursday, July 14. The team are then likely to depart for their pre-season training base which we understand is in Austria.

They will then return for a game on Saturday, July 30 against Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s QPR. The club are likely to squeeze in one more friendly on Saturday, August 6 before kicking off their Premier League campaign on Saturday, August 13.

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Doucoure, who has been capped by France at under-21 level, is one of the summer recruits certain to be involved in pre-season from day one. Jerome Sinclair should also report for day one of pre-season but teenage sensation Adalberto Peñaranda is likely to be involved with Venezuela until at least June 14, when they play Miguel Layun’s Mexico in their final group game.

Odion Ighalo and Isaac Success, meanwhile, could still be in Brazil by the second week of the Premier League season. They are expected to be called up for Nigeria’s much-fancied Rio 2016 squad and the final is on August 20.

Key dates

Sunday, July 10: Woking (a) 5pm
Thursday, July 14: Stevenage (a) 7.45pm
Saturday, July 30: QPR (a) 3pm
Saturday, August 13: Premier League season starts: