Brice Dja Djedje is not fit enough to take his place in the Watford squad for this weekend’s game at Southampton and is unlikely to be available for an extended period.
The word from yesterday’s press conference, the first since Walter Mazzarri took charge, was that the Ivory Coast international arrived at Watford injured and that it is going to take a while for him to firstly recover and then get up to speed sufficiently to be in contention for selection. The right-back signed for a fee of around £4m before the game with Anzhi Makhachkala but did not feature against the Russians and was not in the squad for the friendlies against Queens Park Rangers and Lorient.
The absence of the former Marseille man means Ikechi Anya is almost certain to play at right wing-back against Southampton. Juan Camilo Zuniga has barely featured there since he arrived from Napoli and besides he needed some game time with the under-23 side this week to get up to speed. Nordin Amrabat could also benefit from Dja Djedje’s extended spell out. He was one of those set to make way in the cull of foreign players to make room for the new recruits but he showed against QPR he is a more than handy option at right wing-back.
Much to the frustration of Quique Sanchez Flores, Watford made the mistake of signing unfit or injured players last summer, particularly in the cases of Victor Ibarbo and Alessandro Diamanti and, to a lesser extent, with Adlene Guedioura and Obbi Oulare.
Injuries to Isaac Success and Dja Djedje also means only Christian Kabalese, of the summer recruits, is a likely starter at St Mary’s and even then the Belgian is facing stiff competition from Sebastian Prodl and Craig Cathcart, two of the old guard, in joining Miguel Britos in a back three.