Gianfranco Zola insists Jonathan Bond can fill the shoes of Manuel Almunia following the Watford number one’s injury yesterday.

Almunia was forced off with a hamstring problem during the first half of the Hornets’ 2-1 victory over Derby County.

His replacement Bond could not stop Jamie Ward’s penalty but the 19-year-old Academy graduate made a good stop almost immediately after coming on and claimed several crosses during an accomplished performance, which was his sixth outing for the Golden Boys.

Zola said: “He didn’t do anything wrong and I liked the way he was calm and comfortable with the ball. I was pleased with him.

“I have no problem with Jonathan and I know he can do a good job for us.”

Almunia missed the Manchester City FA Cup tie in January due to a hamstring injury but Zola was unsure whether it was a reoccurrence of the same problem when he spoke in the post-match press conference yesterday.

Zola said: “Unfortunately he picked up a problem in his hamstring but it is too early to say how bad it is. We need to assess and see what will happen.”

“To be honest I don’t know if it was the same leg or not,” he added.