Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting WO to 80360, or email us
Joel Ekstrand and Essaid Belkalem to start for Watford against Bournemouth
Joel Ekstrand and Essaid Belkalem will almost certainly start for a much-changed Watford tomorrow night against Bournemouth.
The Hornets beat the Cherries 6-1 in the Championship just 17 days ago and Eddie Howe's men will return to Vicarage Road tomorrow night in the second round of the League Cup.
Watford made nine changes to their line-up in the first round at Bristol Rovers and there are likely to be a host of changes once again.
This afternoon Zola said: "I'm not sure if there will be nine changes again but there will be changes because we have a strong squad and we want to put a strong team out.
"The cup is important to us. It is a good competition and we want to go forward as a team.
"It is a big opportunity for those players who don't play regularly but are still first team players.
"We will take it seriously. There will certainly be changes but the team will be competitive."
Watford do not have a large squad but it is full of Championship quality. Zola could realistically make ten or 11 changes and still retain a strong side with the likes of Davide Faraoni, Cristian Battocchio, Sean Murray, Connor Smith, Fernando Forestieri and Javier Acuna not starting on Sunday against Nottingham Forest.
Joel Ekstrand captained Watford against Bristol Rovers and his weak ankle, as Zola described it, seems unlikely to stop the Sweden international playing tomorrow night.
New signing Essaid Belkalem and Reece Brown look likely to partner Ekstrand as part of the back three.
"Joel is okay, available for tomorrow and is going to play," Zola said this afternoon.
"Essaid is also okay and is playing as well."
"The only player who is doubtful at the moment is Almen Abdi. He is struggling with a foot problem and shouldn't be available for tomorrow," Zola added.