Gianfranco Zola is hopeful goalkeepers Manuel Almunia and Jonathan Bond will be available for Watford’s Championship play-off semi-final against Leicester City on Thursday.
Almunia pulled out of yesterday’s defeat to Leeds United shortly before kick-off with a hamstring problem – something which ruled him out for six weeks recently.
Zola said: “Almunia had a problem in his left hamstring – the problem he had before. He didn’t feel right and it didn’t feel right to play him. It would have been too big a risk. He could have come off after a few minutes and he could have missed all of the play-offs.”
He continued: “Almunia doesn’t look too bad and he may be fit for Leicester on Thursday. We are hopeful that he’ll be back.”
Almunia was replaced by youngster Jonathan Bond but he was also forced off midway through the first half after a collision with team-mate Ikechi Anya.
“I’m pretty sure Bond has a broken nose but he has been taken to hospital to be assessed and we still don’t know the results,” Zola said.
“With Jonathan, if it is a broken nose so he should be OK. Nowadays you can play with protection so let’s hope it’s nothing more than that.
“It was worrying when the paramedics were swarming around Jonathan because it didn’t look like he was responding.
“The way he went down straight away looked bad.”
The double injury blow meant 19-year-old Jack Bonham was forced to make his debut and he arguably contributed to both Leeds goals.
But Zola stressed: “In football, you make mistakes and mistakes always make you stronger. It’s the way you react to the mistakes that makes the difference.
“That’s what I told him. I’m not going to blame him for one second. I expect a good reaction from him; that’s what I’m asking for.
“It was tough on him to come in at that moment. He was in the stand, then he’s on the bench and a few minutes later he’s on the pitch.
“It wasn’t easy for him so I can’t blame him.”