screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-21-15-09

Sebastian Prodl back for Jamie Vardy and Islam Slimani test

Watford’s defence, which was ripped to shreds by Liverpool at Anfield, will be boosted by the return of Sebastian Prodl for the visit of Leicester City on Saturday.

And in a further boost for head coach Walter Mazzarri, back-up defender Christian Kabasele has suffered no serious damage while on international duty with Belgium and he is expected to be fit for the weekend.

Picture by Christian Kabasele
Picture by Franziska Empl

Watford badly missed Prodl, their best defender so far this season, at Anfield last time out as he picked up a groin problem in the narrow win over Hull. He didn’t report for international duty with Austria and instead has used the time to get himself properly fit for the visit of the Foxes, who will have his international teammate, Christian Fuchs, in their ranks. Indeed, the Austria national team manager was at Vicarage Road the last time these two met.

Picture by Franziska Empl
Picture by Franziska Empl

Prodl found himself edged out by the Cathcart-Britos partnership last season and the signs looked ominous when Younes Kaboul was signed this summer, but Prodl has emerged as linchpin of the back three and the first defensive name on the teamsheet. He’s made more blocks than anyone in the team and the sixth most in the league. His height will be particularly important if Leicester deploy Islam Slimani as the attacking spearhead to complement the pace of Jamie Vardy, who broke his 14-game scoring duck against Spain last night.

4880335

The availability of Prodl, together with Younes Kaboul and Miguel Britos, has wider implications as it means Mazzarri will be able to field the back three he favours and not be forced into a makeshift back four. That will leave him with just the left wing-back slot to fill, with Juan Zuniga the favourite to get the nod.

Kabasele, who made his international debut for Belgium against Holland, is not in contention to start but he is likely to be on the bench as cover for the centre-halves.