Jonathan Hogg believes Watford will be able to play with freedom at Manchester City in the FA Cup third round as the "all the pressure" will be on the Premier League champions.

Roberto Mancini’s side are one of the favourites to lift the cup this season while the Hornets, who suffered a New Year’s Day defeat to Charlton Athletic, travel to the Etihad Stadium hopeful of causing a big upset.

The Citizens, who won the competition in 2011, will have several players missing due to injury or international call-ups but Hogg still expects to face world-class players and a couple of familiar faces.

The 24-year-old said: "They’ve spent a lot of money and everyone knows that whatever team they put out they have world-class players and be massive favourites.

"But we can go there, try our best and play with a bit of freedom because all the pressure is going to be on them.

"We are not expected to do anything there so it will be an interesting game and a nice game for the lads to play in.

"It is a nice stadium and I’ve been there before when I was at Villa, although I was on the bench. So I know what expect and I am looking forward to it."

He continued: "I know Gareth Barry well because I played against him a lot in training when I was at Aston Villa and James Milner as well.

"So I will be playing against old friends because one way or another they will play. So it will be nice to see some old faces and get stuck into them."

Despite Watford’s 4-3 home defeat to Charlton on Tuesday, they remain in the Championship play-off positions and have a game in hand on many of their rivals.

While Hogg is looking forward to battling the likes of Carlos Tevez and Vincent Kompany tomorrow, he believes the players' main priority is the fight for promotion to the Premier League.

He explained: "You want to do well in the cups but for me and most of the players here we want to stay in the play-offs.

"So as long as we can get in that top six then that is what I want to achieve this season."

Hornets boss Gianfranco Zola decided to rest Hogg against Charlton and many felt the midfielder’s tenacious qualities were missed.

The former Aston Villa player admitted he was disappointed not to play in the defeat. He said: "The gaffer had a chat with me on Friday so he let me know before he named the team. I was prepared for it.

"I was a bit disappointed with the result and it wasn’t the best of games. Missing any game is hard but when you get beaten you want to play even more.

"It is nice people say they missed me in the team but it is just more frustrating the boys did not perform the way we have been and get the win we needed really.

"I think we just missed a bit of bite in and we needed someone to grab hold of the game and stamp their authority on it – I think we just lacked that."