Keith Andrews believes the flair and guile of Watford's foreign players should be complemented with Championship 'older heads'

Keith Andrews joined the Hornets on loan from Bolton Wanderers. Picture: Holly Cant

Keith Andrews joined the Hornets on loan from Bolton Wanderers. Picture: Holly Cant

First published in Sport by

Championship know-how is something Watford lacked last season. Players who were battle hardened in England’s second tier and who have Football League experience.

So over the summer, the Hornets recruited. In came Lloyd Dyer from Championship title-winning side Leicester City. Gabriel Tamas, formally of West Bromwich Albion, was signed on a free transfer and Keith Andrews joined on loan from Bolton Wanderers.

At the age of 33, Andrews became the oldest member of the Watford squad. He’s a veteran of the Football League and has played for the likes of Hull City, MK Dons, Ipswich Town and Brighton & Hove Albion.

So he knows what to expect from a gruelling Championship campaign – those nights at the likes of Rotherham United, where you face a physical battle and have to match the opponent’s endeavour and desire.

Perhaps that is why he started in Tuesday night’s victory over the Millers at the New York Stadium.

“It’s important [to have players who know the division],” Andrews said last week. “The foreign lads have the flair and guile but you do need an older head sometimes to organise things and give a nice balance to the team.

“I think we’ve got that in this team. We have a mix of pace, trickery, creativity as well as solid pros.”

Andrews said he couldn’t judge whether Championship experience was something the Hornets lacked last season but added: “Before I signed I looked at Watford and thought they had made several shrewd signings with the likes of Tamas and Dyer.

“Vyds (Matej Vydra) coming back as well was huge because he is a fantastic player and if we can keep hold of Troy that would be a massive signal of intent from the football club.”

Watford’s aim this season is promotion to the Premier League. It’s that ambition which Andrews said made it an easy decision to sign at Vicarage Road.

Other clubs were interested in the midfielder earlier in the summer. Huddersfield Town hoped to sign Andrews permanently and offered him the club captaincy.

However, a deal couldn’t be agreed with Bolton and Andrews was left looking elsewhere.

When Watford offered him the chance to sign on loan, he didn’t hesitate.

He said: “I was very keen to come. I came down for talks and then signed on that day. I want to be part of what the club is doing.

“We’re striving for promotion and I want to be part of that. I went to Brighton last year for the same reason, to try and achieve things.

“I am not a spring chicken but I feel I’ve got a lot to give.”

Watford have made a solid start to their promotion bid. Wins have come against Bolton Wanderers and at Rotherham while Saturday’s defeat against Norwich City came after the Hornets were reduced to ten men after two minutes.

The squad has been rotated with five changes made to the starting XI against Rotherham and Andrews says he has been impressed with the depth of ability at the club.

He said: “I was very impressed. I knew it was a good squad but I have to be honest, I didn’t realise how good until I trained with the lads and saw the quality we have.

“In the forward positions and in attacking midfield, the level of quality will hurt teams this year. That is what gets you out of this division, if you have that base and you’re fairly secure at the back, you can go a long way in this league.

“You look at our squad and there are goals in abundance.”

Andrews is cautious when discussing whether Watford can challenge for automatic promotion this season.

He explained it’s “silly” to state what specific target the squad want to achieve but admitted: “A successful season means promotion.”

Comments (5)

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5:17pm Fri 22 Aug 14

Paul Gadd says...

Really good signing....thought he could have got him earlier before prat Ince took him to MK
Looks like we have filled the Johnny Eustace role at the club

COYH!
Really good signing....thought he could have got him earlier before prat Ince took him to MK Looks like we have filled the Johnny Eustace role at the club COYH! Paul Gadd
  • Score: 19

6:24pm Fri 22 Aug 14

soulfulhornet says...

Andrews sounds level headed. Hope the players and equally importantly the manager listens to him. Quality and youthful enthusiasm are one thing but know-how you can't put a price on.
Andrews sounds level headed. Hope the players and equally importantly the manager listens to him. Quality and youthful enthusiasm are one thing but know-how you can't put a price on. soulfulhornet
  • Score: 15

6:29pm Fri 22 Aug 14

pstannard4 says...

A very good piece of business from the pozzo's. Experienced in the Championship, knows how to play most games he's played in..

I think there is a John Eustace replacement we've been looking for for a couple of seasons. Definitely missed something like Eustace and Andrews last season..

Hope we can strike a permanent deal when he becomes a free. Promotion or we stay in the Championship, with promotion sounding better..
A very good piece of business from the pozzo's. Experienced in the Championship, knows how to play most games he's played in.. I think there is a John Eustace replacement we've been looking for for a couple of seasons. Definitely missed something like Eustace and Andrews last season.. Hope we can strike a permanent deal when he becomes a free. Promotion or we stay in the Championship, with promotion sounding better.. pstannard4
  • Score: 11

11:38am Sat 23 Aug 14

Cuthbert007 says...

Please make a move for Malky now. We need a decent proven manager to get us into the premier league. Come on Pozzo family, move now or it may be too late lime last season!
Please make a move for Malky now. We need a decent proven manager to get us into the premier league. Come on Pozzo family, move now or it may be too late lime last season! Cuthbert007
  • Score: -6

11:46pm Sat 23 Aug 14

harrowboy says...

Cuthbert007 wrote:
Please make a move for Malky now. We need a decent proven manager to get us into the premier league. Come on Pozzo family, move now or it may be too late lime last season!
There is absolutely no way that the Pozzo's would appoint Malky IF they wanted a new man. Malky is a control freak & would want total control over all footballing matters - something nobody will get whilst the Pozzo's are in charge. Understand calls for an English speaking Head Coach with knowledge of the Championship but with three wins out of four and the team playing well it is not going to happen soon.

I wish people would understand this and put their energies into supporting Beppe and the players!!


Rant over. Looking forward to Tuesday.
[quote][p][bold]Cuthbert007[/bold] wrote: Please make a move for Malky now. We need a decent proven manager to get us into the premier league. Come on Pozzo family, move now or it may be too late lime last season![/p][/quote]There is absolutely no way that the Pozzo's would appoint Malky IF they wanted a new man. Malky is a control freak & would want total control over all footballing matters - something nobody will get whilst the Pozzo's are in charge. Understand calls for an English speaking Head Coach with knowledge of the Championship but with three wins out of four and the team playing well it is not going to happen soon. I wish people would understand this and put their energies into supporting Beppe and the players!! Rant over. Looking forward to Tuesday. harrowboy
  • Score: 0

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