Walter Mazzarri confirmed Craig Cathcart visited a specialist in Udinese this week over a nagging injury problem – and that Abdoulaye Doucoure and Christian Kabasele will need to wait patiently for their chance.
Cathcart was replaced at half-time at Turf Moor with a groin injury and was whisked over to Italy, to the Pozzos’ other club, to see a consultant this week. Quite why Cathcart couldn’t visit someone in, say, Harley Street and what the move says about the current, reconfigured medical set-up at Vicarage Road is a discussion for another day, but one thing for certain is that the defender is out of the game with Bournemouth.
“I know that he went for one day,” said Mazzarri. “He went just to have a second opinion, to see a consultant in Italy, and then came back.”
Mazzarri seemed to suggest Cathcart, Miguel Britos, Daryl Janmaat and Jerome Sinclair were not his only injury concerns. Even Harry Kewell has his lower left leg in a protective boot.
“I have still many doubts,” said the head coach who lost his head of medical, Richard Collinge, after the West Ham game. “This afternoon we have the last training and we will see the squad list this afternoon. I hope to get all my doubts clear.”
The casualty list may open the door for Doucoure and Kabasele, two players who arrived for the thick end of £10m and amid much hope this summer. They have only made one start between them and only featured in a matchday squad once each.
“Doucoure is a very good player but until he can guarantee better [than who plays] he will be out of the starting XI,” said Mazzarri. “The same with Guedioura, the same with Kabasele. Even Kaboul and Prodl. We have 20 players, but only 11 go on the pitch. I choose the XI which are in the best possible condition.”