Walter Mazzarri accepts he is facing the one of the biggest availability crises of his coaching career when Watford travel to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
The head coach is definitely without the suspended Valon Behrami and Miguel Britos as well as the injured Kenedy and Craig Cathcart. Mazzarri revealed today there is a still doubt over Younes Kaboul; Adrian Mariappa has emerged as a fresh doubt with a knee problem; Ben Watson has only returned to training today following some inflammation in a groin while it is still very much up in the air if Isaac Success is fit enough to take his place in the squad.
“For sure this is one of the moments when I have more doubts,” said Mazzarri. “It’s all been happening at the same time. It’s ok. I’ve seen it happen in the past. We need to go there [to the Hawthorns] and give everything we have got. There will be no alibis for this. Sometimes in these emergency moments you understand which player, who hasn’t been playing much, can be a starter. They have this opportunity to prove himself.”
Opportunity will certainly knock for Watson or Adlene Guedioura at the base of Watford’s midfield. They are both vying to replace the suspended Behrami.
“I hope the person who substitutes Behrami will give everything and have a great match,” said the head coach. “Guedioura and Watson have different characteristics and it’s up to them to give everything they have.”
Christian Kabasele, who is only just back from injury himself, is certain to make only his second league start if he comes through training ok this week. Mazzarri would like to play the Belgian in back three, as he did against Arsenal, but it depends if Kaboul is passed fit.
“Kabasele is a player that hasn’t been playing much but has been growing a lot in the past,” said the head coach. “We will see if Kaboul makes it – there is a chance they can play together but we’ll have to see if Kaboul makes it.”
Watford had the best Premier League record in terms of fewest training days missed last season but they have piled up since Richard Collinge, the head of medical, was surprisingly made redundant in September.