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Craig Cathcart on the road to recovery

Craig Cathcart should have recovered from surgery by the middle of the month but Walter Mazzarri says it may take a few more weeks before he comes into consideration for selection.

The Northern Irishman has been struggling with a groin problem since the start of the season and required an injection before the game against Chelsea. The problem reached a head at Burnley when he came off at half-time after declaring he could no longer continue. He’s not played a minute’s action since.

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The defender was first sent to see a specialist at Udinese before, like most Watford players this season, being sent to visit Dr Roman Cugat in Barcelona. He suggested non-invasive treatment, including a series of Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) to accelerate the healing process. When this did not work, Cathcart saw Per Holmich in Copenhagen and then, finally, Dr Muschaweck in Munich where he had surgery at their world-leading clinic on November 15. He last played on September 26.

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There is a theory that Cathcart, who played 51 games last season, needed a rest after a demanding season back in the Premier League and that the European Championships were a step too far.

“From what I know, he should be back mid-December,” said head coach Walter Mazzarri. “So that’s another 15 days for him to be back, then we need to understand what condition he is to play.”